Lung Cancer Survival

Ways to Improve Your Lung Cancer Survival

8th November, 2018


Lung Cancer is one of the deadliest types of cancers accounting for many of the cancer-related fatalities in the world. The most common type of lung cancer is the Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC), which constitutes about 85% of the lung cancer cases diagnosed every year.

The Stages of Lung Cancer are:

  • Stage 1: The cancer is present only in the lungs. 
  • Stage 2: The cancer cells are located in the lungs and possibly in the lymph nodes near the lungs. 
  • Stage 3: cancer has spread to the lymph nodes located in the middle of the chest apart from being present in the lungs.
  • Stage 3A: Cancer is localized in one side of the lung, but is extensive.
  • Stage 3B: cancer has spread to the lymph nodes on both sides of the lungs.
  • Stage 4: The most advanced stage, the cancerous cells have spread to both the lungs or to other parts of the body.


Fortunately, Some tips to boost the chances of survival with lung cancer excluding surgery or any form of therapy are:


  1. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of depression: While a certain amount of grief due to the onset of cancer is normal, watch out for symptoms of clinical and ongoing depression and anxiety. Studies have shown that patients who were not depressed lived for twice as long as those who were depressed at the time of their first chemotherapy treatment.  People suffering from lung cancer were also more likely to commit suicide, especially among men.
  2. Stop Smoking: It has been proven that people who have successfully relinquished this habit after being diagnosed with lung cancer respond better to surgery and radiation therapy. The five-year survival rate among those suffering from early-stage non-small cell lung cancer is greater in the people who managed to quit smoking. 
  3. Eat Healthily, Be Healthy: Sticking to a wholesome, nutritious diet plan with plenty of fibre, fruits and vegetables can play a mighty role in barring the onset and recurrence of cancer. 
  4. Get Moving: Regular exercise has been found to be associated with a reduced risk of not only lung cancer but other health complications as well, besides improving the quality of life.
  5. Take Support: Robust social relationships and support system can indirectly improve the survival rate of lung cancer. A study has shown that having a strong social support is associated with a 25 per cent lower relative risk of fatality. 
  6. Know about blood clots and their prevention: Blood clots significantly increase the risk of dying in people with lung cancer. Fortunately, this is not so common and occurs in about 3 to 15percent of people with lung cancer. 
  7. Overcome the stigma of the disease: The stigma associated with this disease has sometimes resulted in the patients not getting the necessary care and treatment. 
  8. Don’t shy away from palliative care: Palliative care consultation which addresses the emotional, spiritual and physical needs and concerns can help improve the survival rate. 
  9. Get in touch with your spiritual side: Spirituality may not improve the post-cancer survival rate, but it does help a person in coping with the disease and its after-effects. Spirituality may mean different things to different people, such as religion, meditation or yoga and all. 

The survival rates for those affected by lung cancer varies from person to person, but a uniform trend which can be observed is that it progressively decreases as cancer progresses to the subsequent and more severe stages.

Here are the estimates of the five-year survival rates for NSCLC:


  • Stage 1: 45 to 49percent
  • Stage 2: Approximately 30percent
  • Stage 3A: 14percent
  • Stage 3B: 5percent
  • Stage 4: 1percent

For limited stage small cell lung cancer (SCLC), the five-year survival rate is just about 14percent, and in case of extensive stage SCLC, the median survival is about 6 months to a year. 

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