In some cases, chemo and radiation can cure stage 3 lung cancer, but several factors affect the likelihood of success. An individual’s prognosis depends on the person’s overall health and how far the cancer has already advanced before diagnosis.
How Common Is Lung Cancer?
According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, more than 200,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with lung cancer each year. It is the second most common form of cancer and the deadliest, accounting for nearly one-fourth of all cancer deaths nationwide. Non-small cell lung cancer is the most prevalent form of lung cancer. Often, when a patient receives a lung cancer diagnosis, it has already reached an advanced stage.
What Is Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer?
Non-small cell lung cancer develops when epithelial cells begin to grow out of control, forming a tumor, lesion, or nodule. Non-small cell lung cancer may affect different types of cells:
- Adenocarcinoma affects the cells that produce mucus.
- Squamous cell carcinoma begins in the cells that line the airways.
- Large cell carcinoma develops in the lungs’ outer regions.
Where the cancer begins can influence a patient’s course of treatment.
A tumor can start growing in the lung and then travel to other parts of the body through the bloodstream or lymph nodes. That process is called metastasis. Cancer that has metastasized generally becomes more difficult to cure, even with chemo and radiation.
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How Advanced Is Stage 3 Lung Cancer?
According to Healthline, stage 3 non-small cell lung cancer is subdivided into three categories—stages 3A, 3B, and 3C. The stage indicates the size of the tumor and how much it has spread. No matter which subdivision, stage 3 lung cancers have spread from the lungs to other nearby tissue.
Stage 3A lung cancer remains locally advanced, which means the cancer has spread from the lung to lymph nodes on the same side of the chest, but not to further areas. Cancer may be affecting other parts of the body as well, including:
- Membrane around the heart
- Heart blood vessels
Stage 3B lung cancer is more advanced than stage 3A. In stage 3B, cancer has spread from the lung to lymph nodes above the collarbone or to nodes on the opposite side of the chest.
Stage 3C lung cancer has spread throughout the chest, but not to more distant parts of the body. In stage 3C, two or more separate tumor nodules in one lobe of a lung have spread to lymph nodes nearby.
Patients with stage 3 lung cancer typically undergo surgery to remove as much of the cancer as possible. Radiation and chemotherapy generally follow surgery. Sometimes, a doctor determines that it would not be possible to remove a tumor with surgery. In that case, a patient may be treated with radiation and chemotherapy first.
Radiation therapy can only destroy cancer cells that are located directly in the path of the radiation. It is not an effective treatment for cancer that has spread throughout the body.
Chemotherapy uses one or more drugs to kill fast-growing cancer cells. The specific medications used will depend on the type of cancer a patient has.
A combination of surgery, chemo, and radiation may cure stage 3 lung cancer. The effectiveness of the treatment depends on how much the cancer has spread before diagnosis. The National Cancer Institute reports a 10-15% five-year overall survival rate for most stage 3A lung cancer patients and 3-7% for stage 3B patients.
Potential Causes of Lung Cancer
Although smoking is a common cause of lung cancer, many people who develop lung cancer quit smoking long before their diagnosis or never smoked in the first place. Exposure to carcinogens such as asbestos and radon can also cause non-small cell lung cancer.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring fiber used in construction materials, vehicle parts, fireproof clothing and equipment, and many household products for many years. Even after asbestos was discovered to be a carcinogen, some manufacturers continued to use it in their products.
Radon is a radioactive gas that forms when uranium, radium, and other radioactive metals break down in soil, rock, and water. Since radon is odorless, people can be exposed to it for years and have no idea. Radon occurs naturally in the atmosphere in trace amounts, but when it enters homes and buildings through cracks in the foundation, it becomes trapped and builds up in the air.
Building owners and landlords can test for radon and take steps to protect people who live and work in their buildings, but many do not.
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Pursue Compensation for Your Illness
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may be able to help you seek financial compensation for your illness if you have been diagnosed with lung cancer and believe it may be due to asbestos or radon exposure. We have represented clients across the United States in personal injury cases since 1985.
We can investigate the cause of your cancer and may be able to pursue a settlement on your behalf with the liable party’s insurance company. If you were exposed to asbestos and the business responsible has declared bankruptcy, we may be able to obtain an award from a trust fund that was set up to compensate victims. We can also fight to get you fair compensation in a trial, if necessary.
Our firm works on a contingency basis, so you will not have to pay upfront fees. We will only receive a fee if we secure compensation for you. Call our office at (800) 794-0444 to discuss your case with a member of our staff.