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Lung Cancer-life expectancy
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Lung Cancer-life expectancy

MY husband has been diagnosed with Stage 3B lung cancer.  The cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the clavicle area.  He is currently undergoing radiation and chemo.  He thinks he has less than a year to live.  The doctors have not given us any kind of life expectancy.  In August he had a tamponade, the biopsy and flluid was negative.  The diagnosis is squamous cell carcinoma of the lung.  What can we realistically plan on for life expectancy.  We have gotten a second opinion.  They all think the tamponade was caused from the lung cancer and feel the cancer has spread to the pericardium.

We would appreciate some kind of answer
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These are averages and variations can occur based on your husband's overall health, grade of tumor, and types of treatment.  In general, the 5 year survival rates have not changed significantly since 1970's.  There are newer treatments and clinical trials which are showing promise.  I hopw your physicians are involved with these trials.  See data below


Lung Cancer Stages and Survival Rates
How Lung Cancer is Staged
When diagnosed with lung cancer, a stage of the lung disease is identified to describe the severity and indicate the extent of its progression. This staging of lung cancer is used by healthcare professionals to determine the choice of treatment that will best rid the body of the lung cancer.

Nonsmall Cell Lung Cancer
Stage 0 Lung Cancer
The lung cancer is localized; it is found only in a local area and only in the first few layers of cells. The lung cancer has not penetrated the surface lining of the lungs.
Five-Year Survival Rate = 70 - 80%

Stage I Lung Cancer
The lung cancer is confined to the lungs and surrounded by normal tissue.
Five-Year Survival Rate = 50%


Stage II Lung Cancer
The lung cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes.
Five-Year Survival Rate = 30%


Stage III Lung Cancer
The lung cancer has spread to the chest wall, diaphragm, or other nearby organs or blood vessels. The lung cancer may have spread to lymph nodes in the mediastinum or the other side of the chest or neck.
Five-Year Survival Rate = 5 - 15%


Stage IV Lung Cancer
The lung cancer has spread to more distant sites in the body.
Five-Year Survival Rate = Less than 2%



Small Cell Lung Cancer
Limited Stage Lung Cancer
The lung cancer is confined to one of the lungs, the mediastinum and nearby lymph nodes.
Five-Year Survival Rate = 15 - 30%

Extended Stage Lung Cancer
The lung cancer has spread to other lung tissues or other areas of the body. Five-Year Survival Rate = 0 - 2%


Source: Cancer Free by Sidney J. Winawer, M.D., and Moshe Shike, M.D.
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