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Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer (cont.)

What Is the Prognosis, Life Expectancy, and Survival Rate for Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer?

Overall, 14% of people with NSCLC survive for at least five years.

  • People who have stage I NSCLC and undergo surgery have a 70% chance of surviving five years.
  • People with extensive inoperable NSCLC have an average survival duration of nine months.

How well the person with NSCLC functions can have a strong effect on the survival duration. A person with small-cell lung cancer who functions well has an advantage over someone who cannot work or pursue normal activities.

Complications of NSCLC

  • Spinal cord compression
  • Bone pain
  • Hormone or electrolyte imbalances
  • Problems with mental functioning or concentration
  • Visual problems
  • Liver failure
  • Pain in right side from enlarged liver
  • Weight loss
  • Severe hemoptysis (coughing up blood)

Complications of Chemotherapy

  • Unexplained fever (due to neutropenia or infection)
  • Bleeding (due to low platelet count)
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Kidney failure
  • Peripheral neuropathy (tingling, numbness, pain in extremities)
  • Hearing problems

Support Groups and Counseling for Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer

Living with cancer presents many new challenges, both for you and for your family and friends.

  • You will probably have many worries about how the cancer will affect you and your ability to live a normal life: to care for your family and home, to hold your job, and to continue the friendships and activities you enjoy.
  • Many people feel anxious and depressed. Some people feel angry and resentful; others feel helpless and defeated.

For most people with cancer, talking about their feelings and concerns helps.

  • Your friends and family members can be very supportive. They may be hesitant to offer support until they see how you are coping. Do not wait for them to bring it up. If you want to talk about your concerns, let them know.
  • Some people do not want to "burden" their loved ones, or they prefer talking about their concerns with a more neutral professional. A social worker, counselor, or member of the clergy can be helpful if you want to discuss your feelings and concerns about having cancer. Your primary-care doctor, surgeon, or oncologist should be able to recommend someone.
  • Many people with cancer are profoundly helped by talking to other people who have cancer. Sharing your concerns with others who have been through the same thing can be remarkably reassuring. Support groups of people with cancer may be available through the medical center where you are receiving your treatment. The American Cancer Society also has information about support groups all over the United States.

For more information about support groups, contact the following agencies:

  • Alliance for Lung Cancer Advocacy, Support, and Education: 800-298-2436
  • American Cancer Society: 800-ACS-2345
  • National Cancer Institute, Cancer Information Service: 800-4-CANCER (800-422-6237); TTY (for deaf and hard of hearing callers) 800-332-8615
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/8/2016

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