Question: If a person has developed lung cancer stage 4, what would be the remaining life expectancy?
This is probably one of the most asked questions about lung cancer. And it is really not unexpected. According to medical statistics, close to half of the total lung cancer patients are already in stage 4 by the time they are diagnosed.
Understanding Stage 4 Lung Cancer Life Expectancy
A number of variables can come into play when the subject is studied. One or more of the following factors would have to be considered:
- age factors — younger patients are perceived to be able to last longer than their older counterparts with lung cancer
- sex factors — female patients seem to be blessed with a longer lifespan regardless of the stage of the lung cancer
- overall wellbeing factor — your general health condition at the time of diagnosis is an indicator of how long you could carry on with lung cancer, and also is an effective indicator to gauging your ability to withstand cancer treatments
- your response to cancer treatment — cancer treatments like radiation therapy, targeted therapies, and chemotherapy all associated with their respective side effects, and different people may react differently to them. If you do not show severely adverse reactions to the various cancer treatments that are supposed to extend survival, your chance of a longer life expectancy could be significantly enhanced
- other health situations that you are currently experiencing — certain disorders like emphysema could greatly reduce lung cancer stage 4 life expectancy
- complications derived from lung cancer — other complications could develop (e.g. blood clots) and your chance of longer stage 4 lung cancer survival could be significantly curtailed.
Statistics on Stage 4 Lung Cancer Life Expectancy
A key point I’d like to make here is that the result of any statistics compiled may not necessarily be applicable to all. It is just as important to take note of the fact that sometimes statistics can be outdated. For example, the last available statistics on lung cancer are dated back in 2005. As technology (and correspondingly, treatment) continues to improve, such statistics may not necessarily reflect the current situation in the medical field.
Back to our statistics. The median number for stage 4 lung cancer life expectancy is just about 8 months. The median value is used to gauge the most common duration at the 50% mark (i.e. 50% of patients survive and the other 50% did not make it). The 5-year survival rate (i.e. the percentage of patients who are deemed to survive for another five years after diagnosis) reads a measly 10%.
While we all know that stage 4 lung cancer is not usually curable, the truth of the matter is that it is definitely treatable. The chances of survival can be improved with early treatment, but, more importantly, these treatments can bring about the much needed relief from the symptoms as well. At the time of writing, there have been some promising treatments that are being evaluated by medical experts. It is with this hope that we can extend the life expectancy of stage 4 cancer in the not too distant future.