Lung Cancer Survival Rate

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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The lung cancer survival rate depends on which type of lung cancer is being discussed and how advanced the cancer is. Unfortunately, lung cancer may not produce significant symptoms in the early stages, and so this type of cancer is most often diagnosed in more advanced stages. The more aggressive small cell lung cancer may only account for about 20 percent of all lung cancer diagnoses, but it is deadlier because it is usually metastatic when diagnosed.

Whereas surgery is an option in early stages of lung cancer, only radiation and chemotherapy are feasible as standard treatment in later stages. Small cell lung cancer is classified as "limited" or "extensive." In the limited stage, the five-year survival rate is 10 percent. In the extensive stage, the two-year survival rate is less than 10 percent; the five-year lung cancer survival rate is zero.

Lung Cancer Survival Rate for Non Small Cell

Lung cancer surgery is often possible in the early stages of non small cell lung cancer, but the later stages find mainstream treatment restricted to radiation and/or chemotherapy. With more advanced lung cancer, where the cancer has metastasized (spread), chemo is the only mainstream treatment because, unlike radiation, it attacks cells throughout the body. Lung cancer facts include the startling information that it is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women, so it is important to recognize any symptoms and get a diagnosis as soon as possible.

The lung cancer survival rate for non small cell lung cancer is slightly better than for small cell, but it still presents a bleak picture for patients who receive standard treatment. Non small cell lung cancer is categorized in four stages. The five-year survival rate for stage I is 60-80 percent; for stage II, it is 30-50 percent; for stage III, less than five percent to 20 percent. By stage IV, the rate is less than one percent.

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