Lung Cancer Prognosis and Survival Rates
There is a lot of information on lung cancer prognosis and lung cancer survival rates out there, so here is some of the most common medical thoughts regarding the subject:
NSCLC are assigned a stage from I to IV in order of severity.
- In stage I, the cancer is confined to the lung.
- In stages II and III, the cancer is confined to the chest (with larger and more invasive tumors classified as stage III).
- Stage IV cancer has spread away from the chest to other parts of the body.
SCLC are staged using a two-tiered system:
- Limited stage (LS) SCLC refers to cancer that is confined to its area of origin in the chest.
- In extensive-stage (ES) SCLC, the cancer has spread beyond the chest to other parts of the body.
Lung Cancer Prognosis
The overall prognosis for lung cancer is poor when compared with some other cancers. Survival rates for lung cancer are generally lower than those for most cancers, with an overall five-year survival rate for lung cancer of about 16% compared to 65% for colon cancer, 89% for breast cancer, and over 99% for prostate cancer. The prognosis of lung cancer is heavily dictated by the cancer's size and location, the presence of symptoms, the type of lung cancer, and the overall health status of the patient.
SCLC has the most aggressive forms of all lung cancers, with a median survival time of only two to four months after diagnosis when untreated. However, SCLC is also the type of lung cancer most responsive to radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Because SCLC spreads rapidly and is usually disseminated at the time of diagnosis, methods such as surgical removal or localized radiation therapy are less effective in treating this type of lung cancer. When chemotherapy is used alone or in combination with other methods, survival time can be prolonged four- to fivefold; however, of all patients with SCLC, only 5%-10% are still alive five years after diagnosis. Most of those who survive have limited-stage SCLC.
In non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the most important prognostic factor is the stage of the tumour at the time of diagnosis. Results of standard treatment are generally poor in all but the most smallest of cancers that can be surgically removed. Stage I cancers that can be completely removed surgically, five-year survival approaches 75%. Radiation therapy can produce a cure in a small minority of patients with NSCLC and leads to relief of symptoms in most patients. In advanced-stage disease, chemotherapy offers modest improvements in survival although rates of overall survival are poor.
- Lung cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in the UK after breast cancer.
- Around 41,000 people were diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK in 2008, that's 112 people every day
- Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in men after prostate cancer, with more than 22,800 new cases diagnosed in the UK in 2008.
- More than 17,900 women were diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK in 2008, making it the third most common cancer in women after breast and bowel cancer.
- More than 8 in 10 lung cancer cases occur in people aged 60 and over.
- Rates of lung cancer in Scotland are among the highest in the world, reflecting their history of high smoking prevalence.
- In the 1950s, for every lung cancer case diagnosed in women in the UK, there were 6 in men. That ratio is now 3 cases in women for every 4 in men.
- Lung cancer incidence rates in men peaked in the late 1970s and since then have decreased by more than 45%. This reflects the decline in smoking rates in men after World War II.
- From the mid 1970's to late 80's, lung cancer rates among women increased by around 45%, since then they have increased more slowly with an increase of around 13%. The difference in lung cancer trends in men and women reflect variations in past smoking behaviour.
- Lung cancer is the most common cancer in the world with an estimated 1.61 million new cases diagnosed in 2008.
- Worldwide, the highest rates of lung cancer in men are in Central and Eastern Europe and for women in Northern America. The lowest lung cancer rates in the world for men and women are in Middle African countries.
- In the European Union (EU-27) there were an estimated 289,000 new cases of lung cancer diagnosed in 2008.
Lung Cancer Survival Rate
- Lung cancer survival rates are higher the earlier the cancer is diagnosed.
- More than two-thirds of lung cancers are diagnosed at a late stage and so survival rates for these patients are lower.
- Overall, less than 10% of lung cancer patients survive the disease for at least five years after diagnosis.