The Prognosis for Someone With Stage 3 Lung Cancer

What makes lung cancer so fatal is that it usually only gets diagnosed when it is at a late stage (stage III or later). This late stage diagnosis has now made lung cancer the second leading cause of cancer related deaths (not including skin cancer) in both males and females ([combined] in the U.S.A. and […]



What makes lung cancer so fatal is that it usually only gets diagnosed when it is at a late stage (stage III or later). This late stage diagnosis has now made lung cancer the second leading cause of cancer related deaths (not including skin cancer) in both males and females ([combined] in the U.S.A. and U.K.), with only prostate cancer in men, and breast cancer in women, being more common.

Accounting for around 14% of all new cancers diagnosed, lung cancer consists of two different types:

1. Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC) also known as oat cell cancer (OCC) is the less common of the two, and accounts for between 10% – 15% of all new cases.

2. Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) is the more common of the two types, and accounts for the remaining new cases diagnosed in both men and women.

Both SCLC and NSCLC are staged (staging describes the extent or severity of the cancer [stages I, II, III, & IV – with each stage being further divided into more defined stages]).

Stage III Lung Cancer – is further divided into two more stages, (a & b), with (a) indicating metastasis (spread) to the lymph node system, and (b) indicating metastasis to organs in another part of the body (usually the opposite side of the body). Stage III is also a particularly dangerous progressive stage (more so than stages I & II) as it has now become potentially life-threatening to the sufferer.

Stage IIIA – has now affected the lymph node system after passing both stages I and II. The tumor may vary in size, the main bronchus (air passage tube), the chest wall, the diaphragm, the pleura (the thoracic cavity’s membrane lining), and the heart’s membrane lining may also be affected. The lungs may also show some signs of being inflamed, or on the verge of a complete collapse.

Stage IIIB – has now affected the chest wall, the inferior cava (the large vein that brings deoxygenated blood from parts of the lower body), the aorta (the body’s largest artery), the diaphragm (the muscular membranous partition dividing the abdominal and thoracic cavities), the trachea (windpipe), the sternum (breast bone), and the esophagus (the alimentary canal between the pharynx [throat] and the stomach).

Stage III Life Expectancy – for non-small cell lung cancer sufferers can vary considerably due to many factors, such as:

1. Age – less than 2% of all cases diagnosed are found in people younger than 45 years old (younger people are usually considered stronger than older people).

2. Gender – although lung cancer affects both males and females; there is a higher chance of a male being diagnosed with the disease (1 in every 13 cases) than a female (1 in every 16 cases).

3. Weight – being significantly over-weight may indicate that a sufferer will likely have a shorter prognosis than someone who is of a correct weight ratio.

4. General Physical Condition – being over-weight (previously mentioned) and being unfit, etc., or anything else that may affect the general physical condition.

5. Previous Medical History – may indicate that a sufferer who has been plagued with other illnesses may react to treatment in a more negative manner.

6. Genetics – where family members who have suffered from lung cancer previously and have lived a certain amount of time after diagnosis.

7. Treatment Response – may be based upon a combination of previous mentioned factors together with any side-effects that may be experienced.

Conclusion – the prognosis of a stage III lung cancer sufferer (having previously been mentioned) may depend largely on many factors; however, as a general guide, it could be estimated at:

Stage IIIA – being around 15 months with only 23% of sufferers being expected to live 5-years or more (after 5-years, every WEEK will be a bonus).

Stage IIIB – being around 13 months with only 10% of sufferers being expected to live 5-years or more (after 5-years, every DAY will be a bonus).

For small cell lung cancer, the prognosis of a sufferer could only be expected to be considerably less than that of a non-small cell lung cancer sufferer.

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