Early recognition of cancer symptoms is crucial for the most successful treatment and recovery. But early detection of lung cancer symptoms is rare. Often, lung cancer is discovered when an X-ray is done for another purpose. Lung cancer is usually diagnosed after age 45.
Lung cancer develops most often in scarred or diseased lungs. Cancer spreads to other parts of the body by releasing cells into the lymph or bloodstream. The migration process is commonly called metastasis. By the time lung cancer symptoms have been noticed, the prognosis is usually poor and the long-term survival rate is not good. Even if the disease is localized, the survival rate is only 35% and the overall average survival rate for all persons afflicted with the disease is only 13%.
The size of the tumor and the extent to which the cancer has spread within the lung (the disease stage) are important prognostic factors in non-small cell lung cancer. If the patient exhibits pulmonary symptoms, it leads to a worse prognosis as compared to that for someone who does not exhibit such symptoms. â€¨If the cancer has spread to several lymph nodes, the lung cancer prognosis is significantly worse than if that were not the case.
In the case of non-small cell lung cancer, weight loss of more than 10% is also considered a bad sign. The five-year survival rate for all stages of lung cancer combined is 15 percent. However, the survival rate is almost 50 percent when localized. The earlier the cancer is found, the better the chances of survival. However, some people are cured and go on to live many years.
Lung cancer treatment is based on the type and stage of tumor, and the patient's general medical condition. Each type is treated differently. Treatment options include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or a combination of these treatments.
The specific combinations of treatments recommended for non-small cell lung cancer depend on cancer's stage and the patient's overall health. Combinations of chemotherapy and radiotherapy are most often used to treat small cell lung cancer. Surgery is not a treatment option except in rare cases during the very early stages of the disease.
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