Around 30 percent of patients diagnosed with lung cancer have already reached stage 3, and their prognosis varies according to multiple factors, according to Dr. Lynne Eldridge, writing for About.com. The median survival time for stage 3a non-small cell cancer is 15 months, and stage 3b patients have a median survival period of 13 months. The 5-year survival rate is 14 and 5 percent for types a and b, respectively.
These figures are derived from averages and broad statistical methods that do not necessarily represent the course of any single patient's experience. A median survival date, for example, is just the time at which 50 percent of patients have died and the other half are still alive. In general, Dr. Eldridge advises that younger people survive longer with stage 3 lung cancer than older patients, overall healthy people do better than people with preexisting conditions and women have a somewhat higher survival rate than men at every stage of the cancer's progress. Although stage 3 lung cancer can't be cured, it can be treated, and the extent of treatments the patient can undergo has a dramatic impact on long-term survival rates. Stage 3 patients are also potential candidates for experimental treatments, any one of which might drastically affect outcomes.