The prognosis for lung cancer survival varies in each individual. The treatments prescribed may affect each person differently, and the physical health of the patient can alter the predicted outcome. Current defenses against non small-cell (NSCLC) and small-cell (SCLC) include a broad range of chemotherapy drugs. Post-operative chemo is used after surgical resection of the malignant tissue to prevent recurrence.PrognosisThe five and ten year cancer survival percentages represent cancer-free patients. The numbers vary, but SCLC cases have the highest mortality rate, while NSCLC cases have favorable outcomes more often. While these numbers make for convenient data references, they do little to help patients and doctors cope with the realities of treating the disease.Surviving a bout of lung cancer has to do with the patient's age, health, pre-existing medical conditions and the stage the disease is in. Proper diagnosis and treatment improve the chances of survival. A staging system is used to classify the progression of NSCLC. This system indicates tumor size, the degree of metastasis (spreading) if any and if the lymph nodes are being affected.Stage 1a and 1b indicate a localized tumor which can be removed with surgery. Stage 2a and 2b mean the tumor is larger than 3 centimeters and may be present in the lymph nodes. Advanced stages are considered stage 3b to 4b where the tumor is affecting vital organs or structures, or the cancer has metastasized to other areas of the body. Depending on the size of the infected area, the surgeon will remove a triangular section of lung, a lobe or an entire lung. Chemotherapy typically follows the surgery.In advanced stage SCLC, doctors reduce pain using brachytherapy or radiation to shrink tumors. Because metastasis is a high probability, the medical community does not use this staging system to give the SCLC patient a prognosis. It is either 'extensive' or 'limited.'After SurgeryDoctors will work with patients to monitor their health after treatment. A checkup every few months will determine whether the individual is still cancer free, or if further therapy is necessary. If no signs of cancer are present after five years, the disease is said to be in remission.
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