Lung cancer has one of the lowest five-year survival rates among types of cancer, according to the American Lung Association. More than half of lung cancer patients die within a year of their diagnosis according to the SEER Cancer Statistics Review.
Determining survival rates for lung cancer can be tricky. Several factors will affect how long someone lives after being diagnosed with lung cancer, including the overall health of the patient, the type of cancer, and whether the disease has spread elsewhere in the body.
Understanding Survival Rate Calculations
More than 500,000 Americans are living with a lung cancer diagnosis currently. Unfortunately, the prognosis for many of these people is poor, as lung cancer is the leading killer among all cancers for Americans.
According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), more than 220,000 Americans will receive a lung cancer diagnosis this year. Roughly 150,000 Americans die each year from lung cancer. Those numbers do not indicate a good survival rate for people diagnosed with lung cancer.
Calculating Survival Rates
When determining survival rate, medical researchers are calculating the percentage of people who would survive with a lung cancer diagnosis for a certain amount of time.
Statistics for Lung Cancer Survival Rates
A review from the National Cancer Institute shows survival rate statistics, including:
- Small cell lung cancer: where the five-year survival rate is 6.3% for all stages.
- Non-small cell lung cancer: where the five-year survival rate is 23.7% for all stages.
However, if someone has localized cancer, meaning it has not spread beyond the lungs, the five-year survival rates are 27.3% for small cell and 61.4% for non-small cell lung cancer.
What Affects Survival Rates?
A number of factors can cause your lung cancer survival rate to differ quite a bit from the average.
The primary factor is how quickly you begin receiving treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment deliver a higher survival rate.
Here are some other important factors:
Those diagnosed with cancer at a younger age may have a better survival rate than older patients.
However, younger people tend not to recognize symptoms of lung cancer as quickly as older people, so younger people may not receive a diagnosis as early, which drops the survival rate.
People with other health problems, such as heart disease, may have a lower survival rate than healthier people.
Smoking and Exposure to Chemicals
Should the patient stop smoking immediately after the diagnosis of lung cancer, their survival rate may be better than someone who continues smoking.
The same factor applies for exposure to toxic chemicals that may have caused the lung cancer to form.
Sex and Race
Women tend to have a better survival rate than men.
Among races, Caucasian or Asian people tend to have a better survival rate than African- Americans.
Cancer treatment is extremely hard on the patient. Some people are better able to handle the side effects of treatments for lung cancer than others.
If your body is not able to stand up to the treatment, you may become weak, which leaves you susceptible to other diseases and complications, reducing your survival rate.
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Improving Treatment Options
Because treatment options for lung cancer continue to improve over time, the survival rate for someone diagnosed with lung cancer today is better than for someone who received a diagnosis five or 10 years ago.
Many of the studies currently being quoted for survival rates draw data from five to 10 years ago. For that reason, someone newly diagnosed may have a better survival rate than the numbers quoted here.
Let Us Represent Your Interests
Some people who have received a diagnosis of lung cancer may be eligible to receive compensation for pain, suffering, and medical costs. If someone else caused your exposure to toxic substances that led to your cancer diagnosis, that party may be held liable in a lawsuit.
Our legal team knows how to represent your best interest in negotiations with insurance companies. We take pride in helping with difficult cases, and we want to make certain you are not further damaged by a situation that is not your fault.
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444 for a free consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means we do not accept payment until the case reaches a settlement.