Stage 3 is that phase in lung cancer which indicates the progression of the ailment in the body. Through this article, let us understand what exactly is this third stage, its treatment, life expectancy, and survival rate.
One of the most fatal types of cancer is lung cancer, which is responsible for a number of deaths across the world. It is mainly caused due to smoking. Other factors responsible for the growth of unhealthy cells in the lungs are inhaling toxic fumes, drinking contaminated water, overexposure to carcinogenic materials like arsenic, asbestos, lead, mercury, etc. Passive smoking is also one of the reasons for contracting this cancer.
About the Third Stage
- There are four different stages of lung cancer, based on the metastasis and progression of the cancerous cells in the body.
- In stage 3, the cancerous tumor has invaded the lymph nodes, progressed beyond the chest, in turn destroying their functioning.
- Lung cancer is further divided into small cell and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Small cell type derives its name from the fact that these cells look really small under the microscope. This type spreads quite quickly, and constitutes 12% of the lung cancers diagnosed.
- NSCLC is malignant, life-threatening, and constitutes 87% of the diagnosed lung cancers. It is different from small cell cancer in the way it responds to a treatment.
- Detection of lung cancer at this stage can be a little tough, as the symptoms can be quite vague and similar to flu symptoms.
- Cough, chest pain, breathlessness, etc., are amongst the early indicators. In stage 3, the symptoms may become intense, and the person may find it difficult to breathe and swallow.
- A burning sensation in the chest, traces of blood in the mucus, accumulation of fluid in the lungs resulting in wheezing and shortness of breath are amongst the pronounced symptoms.
- The individual may also suffer from loss of appetite, fatigue, and unexplained weight loss.
- In the third and fourth stages, survival rate is bleak owing to the fact that the cancer has almost destroyed the vital organs of the body. Undergoing cancer treatment will help improve the health of the patient, and increase the life expectancy to a certain extent.
- Diagnosis is an important aspect before administering treatment.
- A prognosis can be made with the help of factors like age, health condition, the stage of cancer diagnosed, and the patient’s response to the treatment.
- A physical examination, chest X-ray, blood tests, biopsy of the tumor, sputum test, bone scan, MRI, and CT scan of the chest region, etc., are some of the tests which the oncologist may conduct before beginning the treatment.
- Surgery is an option when the cancer is treated in the initial stages. The tumor and the affected lobe are surgically removed to prevent the disease from spreading. The removal of the affected lobe of the lung is called lobectomy in medical parlance.
- Chemotherapy is administered to destroy the cancerous cells, which may have remained after the surgery. This method is also implemented for NSCLC treatment.
- The oncologist may also advise the patient to undergo radiation therapy to curb the metastasis of the tumor. This therapy is usually combined with surgery to destroy the DNA of the cancer-causing cells. Highly charged ion particles are administered into the body for cell destruction. The dosage of radiation is determined by the doctor.
- Surgical removal of the entire affected lung, also known as pneumonectomy, is the last option in case the condition cannot be reversed.
The life expectancy of a person in the third stage of cancer for the 5-year survival rate (the percentage of people who are slated to be alive five years after the diagnosis of stage 3 cancer) is unfortunately only 23% for stage 3A and around 10% for stage 3B.
Remember, lung cancer, or any other cancer, can be completely cured only if it is diagnosed in the early stages. Greater awareness on the ill effects of smoking can help curb this menace at the fundamental level.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.