What is Stage 4 Lung Cancer?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Cigarettes, which are closely associated with lung cancer.
Cigarettes, which are closely associated with lung cancer.

Stage 4 lung cancer means cancer of the lung has spread to other parts of the body. When a person has this stage of lung cancer, for example, it may have spread to his liver or even to his brain. In general, the prognosis for a lung cancer patient is typically dependent on the stage the cancer has reached, so at stage 4, it is usually hard to treat and the life expectancy may be short. It is important for people to keep in mind, however, that each patient’s experience may be different.

A human respiratory system.
A human respiratory system.

When a person has stage 4 lung cancer, his cancer has spread from the lungs to other parts of the body. It may have spread to the patient’s lymph nodes as well as to the fluid that surrounds his lungs or heart. At this stage, the cancer may also have reached the patient’s brain, kidneys, bones, or other parts of the body.

Lung cancer, like other forms of cancer, is most easily treated at an earlier stage. Unfortunately, however, many people do not realize they have lung cancer until they reach a later stage. The long-term prognosis for lung cancer patients who have reached this stage isn’t very good. Five-year survival rates are low, and many people survive only months after reaching this stage. This can vary, however, based on the unique state of the patient’s health as well as a range of other factors.

A computed tomography (CT) scan can reveal the extent of a patient's lung cancer.
A computed tomography (CT) scan can reveal the extent of a patient's lung cancer.

Among the many things that may affect a patient’s life expectancy are the age and gender of the patient, and how far the cancer has spread. Generally speaking, a younger patient with stage 4 lung cancer is likely to live longer than an older person. The type of lung cancer may influence the patient’s life expectancy, and some types are more aggressive than others. Likewise, lung cancer that has only spread to one other part of the body may allow for a longer life expectancy than cancer that has spread widely. Additionally, women tend to live longer after a diagnosis than men.

Unfortunately, cancer that has reached stage 4 is generally incurable.
Unfortunately, cancer that has reached stage 4 is generally incurable.

It is important to note that cancer that has reached stage 4 is usually incurable. This means that healthcare professionals are typically unable to rid the patient of the cancer entirely. It can be treated, however, and often the focus is on prolonging the patient’s life and helping him to remain comfortable.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a InfoBloom writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a InfoBloom writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments

anon1002742

I have stage 4, small cell lung cancer and am currently NED!!!

Stage 4 doesn't necessarily mean a death sentence!

Logicfest

@Vincenzo -- That is unfortunate, but it can also be seen as a blessing. Perhaps an alternative treatment will save someone's life and observing that patient's progress can help other people survive cancer. Even if the patient dies, doctors can still get a good handle on how effective the treatment is.

That may sound harsh, but I don't mean it to be. Cancer is nasty stuff, and every opportunity to learn more about it and figure out how to fight it should be viewed as a blessing of sorts.

Vincenzo

Darn right state 4 lung cancer is almost impossible to treat. When things get that bad, you're talking about hospice care and alternative treatments.

What is really unfortunate is that a lot of what we know about the effectiveness of various alternative treatments comes from observing patients with stage 4 cancer that had nothing to lose by trying something new.

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Cigarettes, which are closely associated with lung cancer.
      By: Denys Rudyi
      Cigarettes, which are closely associated with lung cancer.
    • A human respiratory system.
      By: pixelcaos
      A human respiratory system.
    • A computed tomography (CT) scan can reveal the extent of a patient's lung cancer.
      By: Pavel Losevsky
      A computed tomography (CT) scan can reveal the extent of a patient's lung cancer.
    • Unfortunately, cancer that has reached stage 4 is generally incurable.
      By: edbockstock
      Unfortunately, cancer that has reached stage 4 is generally incurable.
    • Stage 4 lung cancer can be treated to prolong life, but is typically incurable.
      By: Africa Studio
      Stage 4 lung cancer can be treated to prolong life, but is typically incurable.
    • The type of lung cancer affects a patient's prognosis.
      By: Lisa F. Young
      The type of lung cancer affects a patient's prognosis.
    • Chest pains and unexplained headaches may be symptoms of lung cancer.
      By: Aleksandar Todorovic
      Chest pains and unexplained headaches may be symptoms of lung cancer.
    • A younger person may have a longer life expectancy with stage 4 lung cancer than an older person.
      By: Photographee.eu
      A younger person may have a longer life expectancy with stage 4 lung cancer than an older person.