Stage 4 Lung Cancer: How Long Will I Live? (1)

My new case today was a patient in his 50s, diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer, which had spread to his liver and bones. He said he does not want any treatment and asked how long he can live.

No treatment at all?!

The benefits of chemotherapy treatment for stage 4 lung cancer had alredy been proven long ago in many old studies

Those studies showed that chemotherapy was able to prolong survival and palliate/ improve symptoms caused by the cancer (breathlessness, pain, etc).

Longer survival with palliative chemotherapy (P Marino, 1994)

Salient points from the above study:

  • Published in 1994
  • Combining data from 8 clinical trials, 700+ patients.
  • Average survival time is just 3.9 months without chemotherapy vs 6.7 months (+72%) with chemotherapy.

Longer survival with treatment

The key point to note here is, without any treatment, survival is very dismal, from short weeks to months only.

If you want to live longer, there are many treatments available.

Patients can choose option A or option B or option C or etc., but please do not choose to refuse/ no treatment.

Today, with the emergence of better classes of chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy, most patients can easily achieve long survival beyond 2-3 years.

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