Receiving a diagnosis of metastatic lung cancer can be overwhelming. People may receive a ton of new information, including details on the outlook for their condition.
Specifically, a doctor may discuss survival rates and provide insight into how a person’s individual case will compare with the average.
Survival rates for metastatic lung cancer are, at best, estimates. Several factors, including age and overall health, can affect a person’s individual likelihood to survive for longer.
Survival rates are generalized markers that indicate the likelihood that a person will live after a set period of time. Often, doctors and other researchers look at the 5-year survival rate.
According to the
These rates may help a person better understand how well the treatment may work for them, but they cannot tell a person exactly how long they will live.
In other words, if a person receives a diagnosis of stage 1 lung cancer first and then metastatic lung cancer later, their survival rate is based on their new diagnosis.
Several factors can influence a person’s individual survival likelihood, including:
- their age
- their overall health
- genetic changes in the cancer cells
- subtype of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
- how effective treatment is
Survival rates are also constantly changing. Newer treatments are often more effective, and it is possible that better treatment options will improve a person’s chance of survival.
Researchers base cancer survival rates on the type of cancer, the subtype of cancer, and the stage at diagnosis. When considering the 5-year survival rate for metastatic lung cancer, looking at the subtype of the cancer can also be helpful in determining the overall survival rate.
According to the American Lung Association (ALA), lung cancer is the leading cause of death among people with cancer, accounting for 25% of all cancer fatalities. They state that the overall 5-year survival rate is now about 18.6%.
Though still low compared with that of other cancers, this rate represents an improvement. In a
Sex, age, and race differences
Lung cancer death rates are not equal across sexes and races. The ALA state that Black people die from lung cancer at a higher rate than other racial groups. The age-adjusted mortality rate for Black men is also higher compared with that for white men.
These disparities may be due to inequities in healthcare.
A person’s age at diagnosis may also play a role in survivability rates. According to the
NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer, representing about
There are several subtypes of NSCLC. These include:
- large cell carcinoma
- squamous cell carcinoma
These subtypes are grouped together as NSCLC due to having similar outlooks, treatments, and survivability rates.
Small cell lung cancer
Small cell lung cancer accounts for about
According to the
Lung cancer that spreads to the bones
The location of metastasis may also affect a person’s survival rate.
For example, in one
Lung cancer has a relatively low 5-year survival rate compared with other cancers, and it is the leading cause of death from cancer. Factors such as age, sex, and health inequities related to race can affect the numbers.
It is important to remember that the survival rate does not mean that a person will live or die in 5 years. A person should talk with a doctor about their outlook. They can explain the factors that may affect them and recommend treatments to prolong survival.