Lung Cancer Survival Rates

For the non-small cell lung cancers which are the most common type of lung cancer, the projected survival rate sometimes cannot tell how long a person with lung cancer would live, but only gives a clear understanding of how one can administer a successful treatment for the disease.

Cancer survival rates and prognosis depends on the type of tumors and stage. The survival rate for non-small lung cancer is five years. Experts calculate this from the National Cancer Institute’s SEER database, and they base it on the number of people who had the disease previously. Moreover, the 5-year survival rate varies with the stage at which cancer has developed to. (1)(2)

  • First Stage: The 5-year survival rate is about 45%-49%
  • Second Stage: The 5-year survival rate is about 30%-31%
  • Thir Stage: The 5-year survival rate is about 5%-14%
  • Fourth Stage: The 5-year survival rate is 1%

Lung Cancer Prognosis

Non-Small Lung Cancer (3)

  • Stage: Firstly, Stage I and II, which are the earliest, are the most favorable prognosis as there is a higher chance of surviving the disease.
  • The number of lymph nodes involved: The number and location of the lymph nodes where the cancer has spread contribute to the effect on prognosis. This is why in level I, the prognosis is better than in level II or III.
  • Problems of the Lungs: If it also happens that you have pneumonia, collapsed a lung or pleural effusion constitutes to a less favorable prognosis.
  • Sex: Women who suffer the disease have a slightly better prognosis as compared to men with cancer.
  • Loss of weight: When you have non-small cell lung cancer and it happens that you lose weight, there are minimal chances of a better prognosis.
  • Surgery: Surgical removal of lung tumor especially for those tumors that are removable increases the likeliness of prognosis. The opposite is true if the tumor cannot be completely resected. However in a situation where the tumor cannot be completely removed due to some reason, then radiation therapy is recommended.

Advanced Non-Small Lung Cancer

  • The number of metastatic sites: People with a few metastatic sites have favorable prognosis than those who have several metastatic sites.
  • Types of metastases: If the cancer has spread to the bones and adrenal glands, there is a favorable prognosis than when the cancer has spread to the liver or brain.
  • Blood chemistry tests: Normal levels of albumin, hemoglobin and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) are favorable prognostic factors.
  • Superior vena cava syndrome: Lastly, people with this syndrome have a less favorable prognosis.

Cancer survival rates and prognosis for different types of cancer help in understanding the illnesses projecting the possible treatment success. Furthermore, it helps doctors determine the best route of action that would make survival as likely as possible.


CANCER RESEARCH UK. (n.d.). Retrieved July 11, 2017, from

Do Lung Cancer Stages Affect Survival Rates? (n.d.). Retrieved July 11, 2017, from

American Cancer Society. (n.d.). Retrieved July 11, 2017, from