Chances of Surviving Stage 4 Lung Cancer

Stage 4 Lung Cancer

Stage 4 carcinoma is that the most advanced stage of carcinomaCancer has spread (metastasized) to both lungs, the environment around the lungs, or distant organs at this point.

Stage 4 carcinoma is split into two substages:

  • Stage 4a, in which cancer has spread to one or more areas beyond the lungs.
  • Cancer has spread to many locations in one or more organs other than the lungs, such as the brain, liver, or bones, in Stage 4b.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates that 57 percent of lung and bronchus cancer cases are diagnosed at stage 4.

Symptoms when reaching stage -4 lung cancer

Symptoms of late-stage 4a lung cancer include:

  • Fatigue. Extreme physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion are examples of this.
  • Emotional changes. Some people find that they subsided curious about things that wont to interest them.
  • Pain. Severe pain and discomfort can occur, but your healthcare team can assist you to manage the pain to enhance your quality of life.
  • Difficulty breathing. Shortness of breath and trouble breathing aren’t uncommon. You can learn techniques that help, and your healthcare team can recommend medication to assist relax your breathing and reduce anxiety.
  • Coughing. A persistent cough is often caused by a tumor blocking an airway. Your healthcare team can create a treatment decide to help alleviate and manage the coughing.
  • Bleeding. If a tumor spreads into a serious airway, it’s going to cause bleeding. Radiation or another procedure may be recommended by your doctor.
  • Changes in appetite. Fatigue, discomfort, and certain medications can reduce appetite. You may find that food is not any longer as appetizing which you seem to become full more quickly.

Late-stage 4b carcinoma that has spread to other organs can also cause the subsequent symptoms:

  • If it has spread to your bones, you can experience bone pain or fractures.
  • If it’s spread to your brain, you may get headaches, vision problems, or seizures.
  • If it has spread to your liver, you can experience nausea, bloating, or jaundice.

Treatment of stage 4 lung cancer

The treatment options for late-stage 4a or 4b carcinoma vary counting on factors like how far cancer has spread, whether any gene mutations have occurred, and your health in general.

Before treatment for stage 4 carcinoma starts, your tumor could also be tested for genetic mutations, like within the epidermal protein receptor (EGFR)Trusted Source gene. If the gene is mutated in your cancer cells, you’ll receive a targeted therapy drug.

While the following popular treatments are unlikely to cure lung cancer, they can improve your quality of life and enable you to live longer.

Chemotherapy is a form of treatment that involves the administration of drugs that may be used individually or in conjunction with other therapies like radiation or immunotherapy.

Radiation therapy This may be used to shrink tumors. It may be wont to treat stage 4 carcinoma in people that can’t tolerate chemotherapy.

Therapy with specific focus drugs that target specific gene mutations in lung cancer cells, such as EGFR inhibitors and ALK inhibitors, can help to delay tumor development.

Immunotherapy is a form of treatment that involves Checkpoint inhibitors are medications that aid the immune system in recognizing and attacking lung cancer cells.

Photodynamic therapy is a form of treatment that uses light to Tumors that haven’t spread beyond the lungs may be treated with light and light-sensitive agents.

Surgical procedures If tumors in your lungs or chest cavity, as well as affected lymph nodes, cause discomfort, they can be surgically removed.

What are the chances of surviving stage 4 lung cancer?

Stage 4 carcinoma survival rates measure what percentage of people live a particular number of years after they were diagnosed with stage 4 carcinoma.

For example, a 5-year survival rate of 6 percent means people with stage 4 carcinoma are, a mean, about 6 percent as likely to survive for a minimum of 5 years as people that don’t have carcinoma.

Certain treatments can extend anticipation, but these also can cause unpleasant side effects which will undermine the standard of living, in some cases.

As a result, some people opt to treat their lung cancer with palliative care Source you can trust. These are aimed at alleviating suffering without extending life.

Cancer survival rates are supported by statistics from the NCI’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (SEER) database.

The 5-year survival rates given by the American Cancer Society (ACS) are focused on people diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer between 2009 and 2015.

Stage 5-year survival rate

Non-small cell lung cancer that has spread (stage 4)7 percentage points

For non-small cell lung cancer, both steps are combined 25% of the total

Stage 5-year survival rate

Distant (stage 4) small cell lung cancer 3 percent

All stages combined for small cell lung cancer 7 percent

Factors Influencing Survival Rates

The variability in survival rates highlights one key reality about stage 4 lung cancer: no two people have an equivalent disease. Stage 4 carcinoma survival is affected by a variety of variables, some of which are set (non-modifiable) and others of which can be modified (modifiable)

Seven factors have been identified as influencing survival times in people with stage 4 NSCLC.


People with lung cancer, regardless of their point, have a worse prognosis as they get older. This is thanks to the very fact that folks over 70 are often in poorer general health and have immune systems that are less ready to temper tumor growth.7

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Older age not only influences the progression of the disease but survival rates also. As such, if you’re under age 50 at the time of your diagnosis, you’re quite twice as likely to measure for a minimum of five years compared to someone 65 and older.6

Stage at Diagnosis Under 50 Ages 50-64 65 and Over

        Stage at Diagnosis                         Under 50                             Ages 50-64 65                                and Over


Localized                                    83.7%                                   67.4%                                                  54.6%

Regional                                     47.7%                                     36.6%                                                 28.3%

Distant                                          11%                                          7%                                                     4.7%

Unstaged                                     32.1%                                      15.4%                                                 6%

According to SEER results, the five-year survival rate for stage 4 carcinoma patients under 50 is 11 percent; it drops to 4.7 percent for those 65 and older.


Male sex is independently related to poorer outcomes in people with carcinoma generally. Men aren’t only more likely to urge carcinoma than women but are more likely to die as a result of the disease.8 These factors contribute to the disparity within women’s and men’s average five-and ten-year survival rates

Sex                                                     5-Year Survival Rate                                          10-Year Survival Rate

Women                                                              19%                                                                11.3%

Men                                                                     13.8%                                                              7.6%

Overall                                                                 16.2%                                                              9.5%

Men, in particular, face a genetic disadvantage when it comes to staging 4 NSCLC. Compared to women, men are less likely to possess “treatable” gene mutations—that is, people who are aware of newer targeted therapies used for stage 4 disease.

Performance Status

Step 4 NSCLC patients are typically symptomatic. This doesn’t mean, however, that each one of the people is going to be equally ill or incapacitated. There are often significant variations within the ability to function in lifestyle, which doctors ask as performance status (PS).

According to research, approximately half of all people diagnosed with stage 4 carcinoma would have “healthy” PS, which is described as an ECOG score of 0 to 2.  Almost without exception, people with a PS during this range will survive longer than those with a PS of three, 4, or 5.11

The following is a breakdown of carcinoma survival rates and times (for all stages) based on the ECOG PS Score.


Performance Status        5-Year Survival Rates             Median Overall Survival

0                                 45.9%                                       51.5 months

1                                 18.7%                                       15.4 months

2                                  5.8%                                         6.7 months

3                                  0%                                             3.9 months

4                                  0%                                             2.4 months

5                                 Not applicable                         Not applicable

According to a 2015 study published in PLoS One, an ECOG score of 0 leads to an 11-fold increase in six-month survival rates for people with stage 4 carcinoma relative to an ECOG score of 4.

Smoking Status

It is never too late to stop smoking. Even among people with stage 4 carcinoma, quitting cigarettes before the beginning of chemotherapy can increase survival time by the maximum amount of six months, consistent with research published in the Brazilian Journal of Pneumonology.

With that said, the results of smoking cessation—namely, nicotine withdrawal—may outweigh the advantages in heavy smokers who have poor performance status and advanced stage 4 disease.

Location and Type of Lung Cancer

There are many various types and subtypes of NSCLC, a number of which are more aggressive than others. The three most common types are:

  • Lung adenocarcinoma, the foremost common sort of disease that mainly develops within the outer edges of the lungs
  • Squamous cell lung carcinoma, which accounts for 25% to 30% of lung cancer cases and occurs primarily in the airways, is the most common form.
  • Large cell lung carcinoma, an uncommon sort of NSCLC which will develop anywhere within the lungs and tends to be more aggressive than other types

In people with stage 4 NSCLC, these characteristics may affect survival times. Moreover, the situation of the tumor—whether within the airways (as with bronchioloalveolar adenocarcinoma) or in lung tissues themselves—can make an enormous difference in how long an individual survives.

Stage 4 NSCLC  Type                                          1-Year Survival Rate                            5-Year Survival Rate

Bronchioloalveolar  adenocarcinoma                       29.1%                                                           4.4%

Non-bronchioloalveolar  adenocarcinoma                           18%                                                     1.5%

Squamous cell lung carcinoma                                               14.6%                                                  1.6%

Large cell lung carcinoma                                                        12.8%                                                  1.1%


Roughly three of each four people with advanced carcinoma have another chronic health condition, mentioned as comorbidity. Having one or more comorbidities not only complicates carcinoma treatment but significantly impacts anticipation.

Overall, the foremost common comorbidities in people with carcinoma are chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, and congestive coronary failure.

Among people with stage 4 carcinoma specifically, there are two comorbidities that the majority directly influence survival times.

Stage 4 NSCLC Comorbidity                                                       Reduction in Overall Survival

Congestive heart failure                                                                          -19%

Cerebrovascular diseases (such as stroke,

aneurysm, or vascular malformation)                                                   -27%

Genetic Mutations

With the advent of targeted therapies approved specifically for the treatment of metastatic carcinoma, the treatment of stage 4 NSCLC has progressed significantly in recent years.

These treatments, unlike conventional chemotherapy drugs, do not target all fast-replicating cells. Instead, they seek out cancer cells with specific “treatable” mutations and kill them. Because of this, there’s a less fatal accident to normal cells and fewer side effects.

Not everyone has these genetic mutations, but, if they are doing, the drugs can significantly improve survival times. The three most common mutations are:

  • EGFR mutations, which answer targeted drugs like Iressa (gefitinib), Tarceva (erlotinib), and Gilotrif (afatinib)
  • ALK rearrangements, which answer Xalkori (crizotinib), Zykadia (ceritinib), and Alecensa (alectinib)
  • ROS1 mutations, which also answer Xalkori (crizotinib) and Zykadia (ceritinib) also as Lorbrena (lorlatinib) and Rozlytrek (entrectinib)

The effect of those drugs on survival times has been impressive. From 2009 to2017, a report published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology tracked 110 people with stage 4 NSCLC who were treated with Xalkora in combination with chemotherapy drugs.

According to the research, the median survival time for people treated with Xalkori was 6.8 years, meaning that fifty were still alive by that time in time. By contrast, only 2% of these not on the drug were still alive after five years.17


While there is no cure at this time, some therapies can help to extend life. It may be that the side effects of those treatments will eventually outweigh the advantages, and an individual may like better to have palliative care. Before making a decision, it’s important to discuss all of your options with your doctor.

Chances of Surviving Stage 4 Lung Cancer

Chances of Surviving Stage 4 Lung Cancer

Mayo Clinic

Chances of Surviving Stage 4 Lung Cancer