- Five-year survival rates for metastatic non-small cell lung cancer are 6%
- Five-year survival rates for metastatic small cell lung cancer are 3%
One study found that depending on the stage of the metastases (spread) the average survival time following diagnosis of stage 4 lung cancer ranged from 6.3 months to 11.4 months.
There are a number of factors that can impact life expectancy with stage 4 lung cancer. Factors associated with a less favorable outcome include:
- Some studies have shown that some smokers with metastatic lung cancer who quit prior to starting chemotherapy increased life expectancy by as much as 6 months
- Older age
- How aggressive the cancer is
- Location of the cancer
- Being male
- Other underlying health conditions
- Congestive heart failure and cerebrovascular diseases (such as stroke,
- aneurysm, or vascular malformation) have a significant impact on survival time
What Are Symptoms of Stage 4 Lung Cancer?
Early in the disease, people with lung cancer may not have symptoms. When the symptoms occur, they may include:
- Persistent or worsening cough
- Coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum
- Chest pain that may be worse with deep breathing, coughing, or laughing
- Shortness of breath
- Breathing problems
- Loss of appetite
- Unexplained weight loss
- Respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia that don’t go away or recur
Symptoms of stage 4 lung cancer that has spread to other parts of the body may include:
- Swollen lymph nodes such as those in the neck or above the collarbone
- Nervous system effects from lung cancer that has metastasized to the brain
- Bone pain, such as in the back or hips
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice) from cancer spread to the liver
What Is the Treatment for Stage 4 Lung Cancer?
Stage 4 lung cancers are widespread and very hard to treat and cure. Any of the treatments listed below may help patients live longer, but they are unlikely to cure the disease at this late stage.
Treatment for lung cancer depends on the stage, and treatments for stage 4 lung cancer may include: