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Mother passed away due to cancer. How long she would have had cancer.? What is the life expectancy for a stage 4 lung cancer?

Dec 2012
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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2012
Answered : 1694 Questions
Hello. I understand there are many variables when trying to estimate life expectancy for a stage 4 lung cancer case. My mother passed in May of this year, the same day we found out she had cancer. My question has to do with how long she could have had this cancer. I mean, how long would it have taken to go from initial stages to full blown? We were told she had to have had a detectable mass for at least the last two years. thank you very much.
Posted Thu, 15 Aug 2013 in Cancer
Answered by Dr. Nsah Bernard 1 hour later

Thanks for posting your query on XXXXXXX

Well that is a difficult question to answer given that lung cancer is often insidious, and it may produce no symptoms until the disease is well advanced. Approxiamately 7-10% of patients with lung cancer are asymptomatic, and their cancers are diagnosed incidentally after a chest radiograph performed for other reasons. As regards to your question, the how long will really be difficult to determined as this varies from person to person. This diseases can develop gradually for several years (depending on patient's exposure to risk factors such as smoking, lung diseases/infections, work exposure to asbestos etc). From the point of exposure to the years of being exposed can account to when the initial cell changes that lead to the cancer started. This could take several years like more than 10 years for the complete process to reach a stage 4 lung cancer.

Hope this helps answer your question and wish you the best.
Dr. Nsah
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