The prognosis for patients with untreated lung cancer has always been grim, with a median survival time of only 10– 14 months , even for early-stage disease [1–3], and their lives are considered to be at immediate risk unless effective treatment is instituted without delay.
So far, the life expectancy of an 80-year old in the United States is 9.1 years (8.1 in males and 9.7 in females), while the median survival for elderly patients with untreated early stage lung cancer in 14 months only (1,11). This suggests that life limitations in that group are purely cancer related (12).
Non-small cell lung cancer is the most common type of lung cancer . It grows and spreads more slowly than small cell lung cancer .
The old idea that cancer is less aggressive in the elderly is not entirely without merit: breast and prostate cancers tend to grow more slowly in older patients. But other types—colon and bladder cancer and certain leukemias, for example—are usually more aggressive and harder to treat.
It takes about three to six months for most lung cancers to double their size. Therefore, it could take several years for a typical lung cancer to reach a size at which it could be diagnosed on a chest X-ray.
Patients can (and usually do ) live with lung cancer for many years before it becomes apparent. Early lung cancer is largely asymptomatic and internalisation of tumours means patients are not alerted by obvious physical changes.
The most common physical symptoms in the final stages are: feeling more severely out of breath . reducing lung function making breathing harder. having frequent flare-ups. finding it difficult to maintain a healthy body weight . feeling more anxious and depressed.
In most cases, it does not. A healthy older person often has the same chances of responding to treatment or being cured than a younger one. Even for patients with more health issues chemotherapy may help decrease cancer symptoms and growth, and help people live better and longer.
The 5-year survival rate for all people with all types of lung cancer is 19%. The 5-year survival rate for men is 16%. The 5-year survival rate for women is 23%. The 5-year survival rate for NSCLC is 24%, compared to 6% for small cell lung cancer .
Small cell lung cancer is notorious for growing extremely fast with death often occurring within 6 months when no treatment is received. This rapid growth, however, makes this type of cancer susceptible to chemotherapy agents. Lung cancers sometimes grow extremely slowly.
How long someone lives with mesothelioma without treatment depends the cancer’s stage , their overall health and tumor growth rates. Patients diagnosed with stage 1A disease who elect no treatment live an average of two years. Those diagnosed in stage 4 who decide against treatment live an average of 6 months.
Systematic evaluation of evidence on prognosis of NSCLC without treatment shows that mortality is very high. Untreated lung cancer patients live on average for 7.15 months .
The most common cancers in the elderly are: Breast Cancer , Prostate Cancer , Lung Cancer , and Bowel Cancer .
First, there is no reason to deny older people adequate cancer therapy — surgery, chemotherapy, radiation — based on age alone. Individualization is critical; one size does not fit all! While one 80-year-old may tolerate a standard course of chemotherapy perfectly well, the next may not.
Cancer can take decades to develop . That’s why most people diagnosed with cancer are 65 or older. While it’s more common in older adults, cancer isn’t exclusively an adult disease — cancer can be diagnosed at any age .