While it is a dreaded condition that nobody wants to talk about; every patient and family member wants to know about their chances for surviving lung cancer. Its important to know from a medical point of view and its important to know from a personal, emotional point of view. Most people prefer hard survival rate statistics, though they realize that each patient is different and each cancer cell is unpredictable.
The first and most important criteria is the stage in which, the cancer exists within the patients body at that time of diagnosis. Has it developed to other parts of the body, in particular the brain, whereby chances of full or even partial recovery are extremely poor. Even with aggressive treatment, surviving late state lung cancer is a tremendous task for anyone.
A major factor that will also impact the rate of survival is the general health and medical history of the patient. Doctors are very concerned about a number of conditions that a patient could currently have which could contribute to the spread of the cancer. Is the patient already symptomatic, showing signs such as coughing and difficulty breathing; in which case the cancer has advanced and reduces the survival rate. Apart from getting the best treatment possible, it’s important to stay in good physical and mental shape. Winning the fight against cancer is a tremendous challenge even for a patient in good physical condition. Keeping a good attitude and staying as healthy as possible are paramount in the success of any medical treatment.
Approximately 16% of patients initially diagnosed with lung cancer still only have localized cancer. This means that it has not yet spread to other parts of the body. This is the best diagnosis, it means that a patient’ chances of survival are fairly high. It is important to know that approximately 37% of those who are diagnosed with lung cancer are in the latter stages where the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body, complicating the condition, and reducing the survival rate significantly.
An even larger number of patients, approximately 39 percent, are not diagnosed until after the cancer has had a chance to spread to far-reaching parts of the body, what is called the distant stage of cancer. It has metastasized and is no longer confined to just the lungs. When this happens, treatment options are extremely limited, and sometimes treatment is discouraged altogether because of the hopelessness of the situation.
In the years between 1995 and 2002, a study was conducted to determine the survival rate of people whom had been diagnosed with lung cancer five years earlier. The study found that approximately 17 percent of white women survived, 10 percent of black men, and nearly 15 percent of black women. Though interesting and helpful for doctors and scientists to treat lung cancer; cancer survival in general depends on a host of different factors that make statistics meaningless!
Most cases of lung cancer are diagnosis BEFORE any symptoms appear in the patient! Early detection and diagnosis has always been the plea of cancer doctors. Anyone with a history of cancer in their families, have had the possibility of exposure to asbestos, heavy user of tobacco products, etc. should have medical examinations regularly by an experienced cancer specialist.