Stage 4 Cancer Life Expectancy

When a patient gets the news that he has advanced cancer, then one of the primary concerns is often stage 4 cancer life expectancy. Stages in cancer are determined by several factors including the site of the cancer, the number and size of tumors, the abnormality of the cancer cells and whether the cancer has moved to other organs. Stage 4 cancer is the stage at which the cancer has spread from the original site to other organs in the body. For most cancers, stage 4 cancer is the most serious stage of development.

Many personal factors determine the estimated stage 4 cancer life expectancy. The type of cancer is the largest factor in the patient’s diagnosis. Age is another variable that is considered. Younger cancer patients tend to live longer than older patients. For some cancers, women usually have a longer life expectancy than men, such as lung cancer. The treatments a patient receives and the patient’s response to those treatments can greatly affect stage 4 cancer life expectancy. For patients with other health conditions besides cancer, their prognosis may depend upon the way those illnesses interact with the cancer and the type of treatments a patient can tolerate. Complications from the cancer or its treatments can shorten the expected stage 4 cancer life expectancy.

The overall stage 4 cancer life expectancy for all cancers is 58% of patients live for ten years or more, according to the National Institutes of Health. For Bone and Joint cancers combined the survival rate for those diagnosed when they are 50 years old or less is 67.3% will survive for at least ten years and those who are over 50 when diagnosed the rate is less at 51%. For those with breast cancer the stage 4 life expectancy is higher at 82.5% for those diagnosed over 50 years old. Probably the most dreaded diagnosis for a patient is pancreatic cancer with a ten year survival rate of less than 3% for those who are over 50 when diagnosed. At the other end of the spectrum are the 92.3 % of men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer who are expected to live for ten years or more.

Many health care providers are reluctant to give patient statistics for stage 4 cancer life expectancy. One reason for this is that statistics only look backward over the last several years and do not necessarily account for new and improved treatments of current patients. The other reason patients are asked not to focus on these numbers is that they are just averages and the individual prognosis of a patient may vary wildly from statistics. 

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