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Stage 4 lung cancer – survival rate

The growth of cancer cells in the lungs which has advanced to stage 4 is referred to as stage 4 lung cancer. Nearly 40 percent of the lung cancer patients get diagnosed with stage 4 of lung cancer.

Symptoms of stage 4 lung cancer

  • The patient may cough up blood
  • Presence of chronic cough
  • Hoarseness
  • Breathlessness or shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Reoccurring bouts of bronchitis or pneumonia
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Pain in the arms, chest, shoulder and back
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Metastasized form of stage 4 lung cancer that affects:
    • The esophagus will result in swallowing problems
    • The bone will result in pain in the ribs, hips and back
    • The brain will cause weakness, headaches, seizures and vision changes

Causes of lung cancer

  • Smoking damages the inner linings of the lung walls which results in the formation of abnormal cells. This causes lung cancer, which when undetected in the early stages can lead to stage 4 lung cancer.
  • Besides smoking, there are many other risk factors that increase the vulnerability to developing lung cancer. They include exposure to radon gas, asbestos and other harmful chemicals; a family history of lung cancer and other non-cancerous smoking related lung diseases.

Stage 4 Lung cancer treatment

  • Surgery to remove the tumor from the lung and other affected tissues due to metastasis. A lung transplant may also be done in extreme cases of stage 4 lung cancer
  • Chemotherapy is used to inject specific drugs that kill the cancer cells
  • Radiation therapy is used to direct extreme rays of radiation at the cancer cells to destroy them
  • Targeted drug therapy involves the use of special medications to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Such drugs may block the blood flow to the cancer cells, or perform other functions, which result in their demise.

Survival rate for stage 4 lung cancer

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The survival rate for stage 4 lung cancer refers to the percentage of patients that survive for a particular number of years after diagnosis. The five year survival rate refers to the percentage of patients who survive for at least a period of five years after detection of the condition.

It should be noted that the survival rates cannot be generalized for all patients with stage 4 lung cancer, as the survival of each case tends to vary as per the factors discussed below:

  • The patient’s age. Younger patients have a higher survival rate as compared to older patients
  • The overall health of the patient determines the survival rate. The healthier the people at the time of diagnosis, the greater are the chances to fight the condition and survive for a longer period.
  • Stage 4 lung cancer is of many types and can affect several body parts. Hence, survival rate is dependent on the type of stage 4 lung cancer as well as on the fact whether the disease has metastasized to affect several organs or just a single organ.
  • Women have a better survival rate as compared to men
  • The ability of the patient to respond to stage 4 lung cancer treatments, with minimal side effects also increases the survival rate of the patient
  • Stage 4 lung cancer can result in many complications which can further decrease the survival rates.

The overall five year survival rate for stage 4 lung cancer patients is extremely low at less than 10 percent.

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