Stage 4 NSCLC what is average life expectancy after diagnosis?

Portal Forums Lung/Thoracic Cancer NSCLC Stage IV NSCLC Stage 4 NSCLC what is average life expectancy after diagnosis?

This topic contains 17 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  aunttootsie001 1 year, 3 months ago.

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March 14, 2013 at 1:59 pm  #1254761    

dexter712

65 yr old father diagnosed 8 months ago with stage 4 NSCLC. I know it’s in lymph nodes. He is no longer doing chemo treatments. Stopped about 1 month ago because the cancer had spread and tumors were growing. Only on a once a week clinical trial now and body seems to accept it. Several blood clots, on oxygen SOB and coughing. what is the average life expectancy with stage 4? Does each new chemo treatment or clinical trial extend his life more?

March 14, 2013 at 4:49 pm  #1254765    

Dr West

The median survival, which is the time at which half of patients in a group have died, is about 8-10 months from the start of first treatment. Among those who go on to second line chemotherapy, the median survival is about 6-7 months, and for third line treatment, it’s about 4 months.

There isn’t evidence that treating beyond the first couple of lines of treatment prolongs survival, and if a person is too debilitated, there’s a very real chance that more treatment may shorten rather than prolong survival.

It’s important to recognize that while the numbers are relevant for a big group of patients, they don’t speak to how an individual patient will do. Some will do far better than the general numbers, and others will do worse.

Good luck.

-Dr. West


Howard (Jack) West, MD
Medical Oncologist

Views expressed here represent my opinion, not those of GRACE or Swedish Cancer Institute. This information does not constitute medical advice and is intended to supplement and not replace medical information provided by your doctor.

March 14, 2013 at 6:35 pm  #1254768    

dexter712

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions.
But wow! Not sure what to think anymore. He was diagnosed in July ’12. I never realized all the ups and downs cancer patients face.
Thank you for all you do

March 15, 2013 at 1:19 pm  #1254780    

Follansbee

Hi, dexter. I would be interested in learning what clinical trial your father is on. His condition sounds similar to my husband’s at this point. My husband’s oncologist says that he won’t be able to tolerate second line chemo, and we are casting around to see if there are any options when there is progression. As you can see from my signature information, he is on the good side of the median survival time. We are thankful for that. I sincerely hope that your father will fare as well.

follansbee

March 15, 2013 at 1:23 pm  #1254781    

Follansbee

Hi again, dexter. I guess you can’t see my signature. It must have gotten lost in cyberspace. He was dignosed almost two years ago, had carbo/Alimta/Avastin, four rounds, then went on Alimta/Avastin maintenance. No progression yet, but he has COPD and recurrent Pseudomonas infections. He had been on oxygen for the last couple of weeks due to SOB.

follansbee

March 15, 2013 at 2:38 pm  #1254782    

catdander forum moderator

Hello dexter and Follansbee. I know Follansbee you have read this but want to make sure dexter has read through some of our informative blog posts. This first one is about 2nd line treatment. I understand your father isn’t likely able to withstand more chemo but has he been offered or has tarceva been discussed… http://cancergrace.org/lung/2010/10/04/lung-cancer-faq-2nd-line-nsclc-option/ from our FAQ and this is what I consider one of the most important steps in late stage cancer care and hope beyond hope everyone works to get the timing right on it, http://cancergrace.org/cancer-treatments/2012/07/26/what-is-palliative-care/

Follansbee you may need to reenter your signature. When you make changes in your profile the signature is erased so it is a good idea to have the signature copied somewhere safe including a word doc and your “bio” . To reattach it hopefully you can copy and paste it.
In any event know the sig is different than the bio. Access your sig in your “forum profile” by clicking on your gorgeous avatar or the “Forum Profile” link just above the first grey forum thread stripe on any page. Don’t forget to click submit and ignore the email addi warning. Here’s Mark’s fab detailed instructions, http://cancergrace.org/topic/grace-site-tips-profile-bio-forum-signature


My husband, 53 @ dx of stage 3 squam nsclc R. pancoast tumor 8/09 caused destruction of 3 ribs, touching brachial plexus. 2 core and 1 VATS undx biopsies. Open thoracotomy for 1 positive biopsy (unresectable). Chemorads, 9/09. MRI by pancoast specialty surgeon 11/09 spine met found, stage IV, Rad to spine, Chemo changed from cis/etop to navelbine/carbo. 6 cycles total. Tarceva 2/10-11/10. 3cm tumor L lung, biopsy undx w/collapsed lung. Gemzar, 12/10 through 7/12. NED 3/12, stop tx 7/12. Remains NED as of 2/14.

March 15, 2013 at 3:51 pm  #1254783    

Follansbee

Thank you, catdander. I had forgotten Mark’s instructions for adding back in lost signatures. I’ll work on it tomorrow when I feel alert enough to do it.

follansbee :wink:

March 16, 2013 at 6:26 am  #1254792    

Follansbee

Catdander, I got my signature back! Glad I waited until today to try it. I couldn’t do it with IE9, and had to switch to Google Chrome. Edit Forum Signature didn’t appear in IE9, no matter where I tried. Computers are very sneaky things!

Dexter, I would be interested in learning about the clinical trial your father is on.

follansbee

March 20, 2013 at 12:12 pm  #1254960    

zeynep

My husband…. diagnosed 2 years ago.. age 56… Stage IV…
now … 4th line of treatment… Having a normal life ( thank God) …
wrote this just to give you some hope…
Zeynep

March 20, 2013 at 8:11 pm  #1254973    

Dr West

We never have enough…Thanks for writing something very encouraging for everyone.

And congratulations!

-Dr. West


Howard (Jack) West, MD
Medical Oncologist

Views expressed here represent my opinion, not those of GRACE or Swedish Cancer Institute. This information does not constitute medical advice and is intended to supplement and not replace medical information provided by your doctor.

March 20, 2013 at 11:40 pm  #1254991    

zeynep

Thanks !

March 21, 2013 at 5:01 am  #1254994    

gn21

Another hopefully encouraging story. I was diagnosed stage 4 adeno over 4 years ago. On my 5th line of treatment, minimal side effects from my current chemo, living normally (whatever that means!), and planning yet another overseas holiday.

Holding my nerve against the time when it all goes pear shaped!

Statistics are a story, but not mine. Averages need both ends of the data spectrum, and some of us are lucky enough to be on the right hand side of the bell curve.

Gail

April 30, 2013 at 8:14 am  #1256050    

dexter712

It has been almost 10 months since diagnosis with a little bit of improvement with the clinical trial that started in February. Is it a normal feeling for the family to be full of anxiety with waiting for what happens next?

April 30, 2013 at 8:36 am  #1256053    

JimC Forum Moderator

Absolutely…uncertainty is one of the most difficult aspects of a cancer diagnosis. We have all been through that, and I wish you whatever amount of calmness you can have. Good thoughts are with you from your GRACE family.

JimC
Forum moderator


Jul 2008 Wife Liz (51/never smoker) Dx Stage IV NSCLC EGFR exon 19
4 cycles Carbo/alimta, 65% shrinkage
Tarceva maintenance
Mar 2010 progression, added Alimta, stable
Sep 2010 multiple brain mets, WBR
Oct 2010 large pericardial effusion, tamponade
Jan 2011 progression, start abraxane
Jun 2011-New liver, brain mets, add Tarceva
Oct 2011-Dx Leptomeningeal carcinomatosis; pulsed Tarceva
At rest Nov 4 2011
Since then: http://cancergrace.org/blog/jim-and-lisa

April 30, 2013 at 9:00 pm  #1256064    

Dr West

There’s even a term for this, “scanxiety”, and a post about this subject:

http://cancergrace.org/coping-with-cancer/2008/05/27/scanxiety/

Good luck.

-Dr. West


Howard (Jack) West, MD
Medical Oncologist

Views expressed here represent my opinion, not those of GRACE or Swedish Cancer Institute. This information does not constitute medical advice and is intended to supplement and not replace medical information provided by your doctor.

May 1, 2013 at 3:09 pm  #1256099    

dexter712

So the scan showed that his tumors have not gotten any bigger and some did shrink. No longer needs the oxygen unless doing something really strenuos. Still has some of the blood clots. I can’t remember the name of the trial right now but I do know the main side effect could be death. Someone sits with him during treatments with a defibrillator. Is that normal? I don’t know what to think.

May 1, 2013 at 8:54 pm  #1256104    

Dr West

It is very likely to be a precaution and nothing more. The informed consent forms are written to be very conservative, describing every possible side effect that might occur.

-Dr. West


Howard (Jack) West, MD
Medical Oncologist

Views expressed here represent my opinion, not those of GRACE or Swedish Cancer Institute. This information does not constitute medical advice and is intended to supplement and not replace medical information provided by your doctor.

May 5, 2013 at 6:59 pm  #1256254    

aunttootsie001

I guess you’d say I was on 2nd line treatment and coming up on 2nd Anniversary! Doing Pretty good! Leaving for Florida this Thurs. living life to the fullest! Good Luck! Lorrie


DX June 2011, Non smoker. Lobectomy August. 2011. Two TX Carbo/Taxol. 31 TX Radiation 2012. Break no treatment 8mo. Malignant Pleural Effusion discovered Oct. 2012. Xalkori started Nov. 2012. Pleurodisis done April 2013. Last CT still NED.

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