What Factors Affect Lung Cancer Survival Rates?

Several factors can affect lung cancer survival rates, including the type of lung cancer the patient has. Other factors, such as the stage of the cancer and size of the lung tumor, also affect lung cancer life expectancy. Lung cancer prognosis may also be affected by other underlying health conditions the patient has.

The two primary types of lung cancer are small cell and non-small cell. Non-small cell cancer cases tend to have a better prognosis. Small cell lung cancer is often found in advanced stages and tends to be more aggressive.

Once a lung cancer diagnosis is confirmed in a patient, the next step is to stage the cancer. The staging process determines if and where the cancer has spread beyond the lungs. Prognosis tends to be better if cancer has not spread beyond the lungs and it is not in the lymph nodes.

Tumor size may also influence lung cancer mortality rates. Although tumors of all sizes may be treatable, small tumors are usually easier to treat. Large tumors may be inoperable and make treatment more difficult, which can impact survival rates.


Response to treatment is another factor that influences survival rates. Lung cancer treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Patients respond differently and have side effects of differing severity. In some cases, patients need to stop treatment due to serious side effects, such as infections. In other instances, patients tolerate treatment well and are able to continue chemotherapy for years, which extends survival.

Another factor that affects lung cancer survival rates is the patient’s general health. Treating lung cancer along with other co-existing medical conditions is more difficult. Certain treatments, such as surgery or chemotherapy, may not be tolerated as well. If the patient also has other underlying health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, or emphysema, lung cancer survival rates tend to be lower.

Lung cancer survival rates are also influenced by the presence of symptoms such as trouble breathing, coughing, and wheezing. Some patients may not experience symptoms in the earlier stages of lung cancer.

As with all types of cancer, doctors continue to research new ways to treat lung cancer. Patients diagnosed with lung cancer should educate themselves on available treatments, such as clinical trials, which may increase lung cancer survival rates. It’s important to remember lung cancer life expectancy may improve as new treatments are approved and implemented.



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