Lung Cancer Survivors – Know Your Chances Of Recovery

Lung Cancer Survivors – Know Your Chances Of Recovery

Lung Cancer Survivors Beating the Odds

Researchers analyze the average percentage of lung cancer survivors based on two broad benchmarks. The first is the five year, and the second is the ten year survival rate. While early stage cancer patients have a better chance for survival than those in the late stages, data can vary significantly.

National Data

Statistics from the National Cancer Institute divide cancer into small-cell and non small-cell. The former has the worst prognosis. It is usually diagnosed when it has already spread to other parts of the body or the lymph nodes, and it grows aggressively. NCI’s SEER program considers survival statistics for the latter by its diagnosed stage. Statistics are further divided by age, race and gender.

Data shows a low lung cancer occurrence across all races and both genders; chances of developing the disease increase as the population ages. SEER data estimates survival rates by comparing patients to the cancer-free population in general. The five year rate calculated for non small-cell carcinomas for all races, ages and genders averages 15%-18%. Statistic trends will alter this data over time. These changes are called the ‘annual percentage change’ and are reflected with a plus or minus sign, or an asterisk if change was significant.


SEER statistics do not consider quality of care between hospitals, despite the importance of this factor to patients. In an independent study commissioned by Cancer Treatment Centers (of America) a comparison was made between cancer survivors at their facilities and comparable SEER data. The results demonstrate the importance of quality care.

In victims of advanced stage non small-cell LC, CTCA patient’s survival rates at six months were 21 percent higher than the national average. At one year they were 16 percent higher, and at a year and a half 11 percent higher. These numbers demonstrate the importance of superior care to a favorable outcome, but also the value of considering each case as distinct. Approaching patient care without preconceived notions based on SEER averages may leave more options open to the individual.

In general, long term survival rates for small-cell carcinomas are the lowest in all populations. NSCLC discovered in its early stages offers the patient the best long term chance at survival.

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