Stage 4 lung cancer is the last stage of lung cancer that is also known as Metastatic Cancer. This is the condition where the cancer cells have affected both lungs and other areas of the body, such as brain, bones, liver and so on. Unfortunately, 40 percent of people diagnosed with lung cancer are already in stage 4 when they are first diagnosed. This is not uncommon as earlier stages often misidentified as other less serious health problems. Thanks to medical improvements, a diagnosis of stage 4 lung cancer does not mean that they cannot prolong their life. The life expectancy of the patient can be improved through certain treatments so the patients can live longer, generally about 7 to 12 months since they are diagnosed, although the cancer itself is incurable. Some people are even able to survive for years, even up to 7 years.
The life expectancy of stage 4 lung cancer therefore varies, depending on many factors, including the physical and mental condition of the patient, the age, the sex, and the current condition of the cancer itself, whether it has developed further or not. Normally, women have higher survival rate than men. In this stage, surgery is no longer possible and chemotherapy is the option to reduce the size of the tumor, slow its growth, terminate the most cancerous cells, improve the symptoms and quality of life and more importantly, prolong the life of the patients. Radiation is often mixed with the chemotherapy. Both methods often cause severe side effects such as abdominal pain, memory loss, bone pain, kidney problems, impotence and many others. In addition, there are other treatments that can help the patient prolong their life, which are target drug treatment and the patient’s contribution in clinical experiment. Both methods basically work by targeting the patient’s cancer characteristics and treating it. The patients will not experience severe side effects as with chemotherapy and radiation. The medical experiment alone is proven to be successful in improving the survival rate of the patients, mainly because patients engaging in the experiment get all the focus on themselves and if there is a new finding to help improve the survival rate, it will be tested on them. In addition to all the medical treatments above, sometimes patients also look into alternative treatments, although from medical point of view, those treatments do not do the stage 4 lung cancer anything. The treatments include acupuncture, massage therapy, certain diet, natural substances such as baking soda and even taking kerosene as well as certain herbal remedies. They might work in reducing the symptoms of the cancer but are unlikely to cure the cancer itself, but are always worth investigating, as some have a very good history of helping. The outcome of those alternative treatments is always better if the cancer is still in early stages.
By knowing the life expectancy and treatments of stage 4 lung cancer, patients can be more prepared for what they will be going through and their loved ones are also ready to support them throughout the whole process.