Lung cancer is the result of lung cells growing abnormally and out of control.
Most lung cancers are diagnosed at stage 3. Stage 3 lung cancer encompasses many different types of tumors, some of which may have spread to nearby tissues, organs, or lymph nodes. Life expectancy for lung cancer is often expressed in 5-year survival rates, that is, how many people will be alive 5 years after diagnosis.
Small cell lung cancer is rarer and more aggressive. Stage 3 small cell lung cancer 5-year survival rates are 16%.
Factors that may improve a patient’s prognosis include:
- How advanced the cancer is
- How much the cancer has spread outside the lungs
- Maintaining weight (patients who lose more than 5% of their total body weight before treatment usually have a poorer outlook)
- If a patient is still able to carry out their daily routine
- Being female
- No other lung illness, such as pneumonia or collapsed lung
What Are Symptoms of Stage 3 Lung Cancer?
Early on, people with lung cancer may not have symptoms. When 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 3 lung cancer that has spread to nearby tissues, organs, or lymph nodes may include the above and:
- Loss of breath
- Bone pain
- Chest discomfort
- Excessive headaches
What Is the Treatment for Stage 3 Lung Cancer?
Stage 3 lung cancer may still be treatable, depending on the patient’s outlook and overall health.
Treatment for stage 3 lung cancer may include:
- Lobectomy or sleeve resection or removal of the entire lung (pneumonectomy) (Stage 2 and later stages)
- Photodynamic therapy (PDT)
- Laser therapy
- Adjuvant chemotherapy
- Radiation therapy
- Radiofrequency ablation (RFA)
- Lymph node removal
- Participation in clinical trials