Why some people are not treated for lung cancer (2023)

if you have been diagnosedlung cancerThe first two questions you might ask are how long you are likely to live and whether you will be able to tolerate the treatment. In some cases, it can be cancer.Advancedeutreatmentsuch an impact that it can damage your quality of life in ways you find acceptable - so much so that you consider moving onwholung cancer treatment.

If you decide to quit, you'll want to know "what's next" so you can make plans for yourself and your loved ones. Although the doctor can give you an ideahow the disease can progress, every case is different and the answers you seek are not always so simple.

Why some people are not treated for lung cancer (1)

How long do I have to live?

This is a reasonable question, but one that is often difficult for oncologists to answer, especially in the early stages of the disease. Tointernship and degreeyour cancer can help healthcare professionals predict your likely outcome (known asprognosis), there are few providers that will give you an exact time because, frankly, the "likely outcome" may not beyourresult.

Among the factors that can predict survival time in people with lung cancer:

  • cancer stage, classified according to the characteristics of the tumor, whether the lymph nodes are affected and whether the cancer has spread (METASTASES)
  • stage of cancerwhich describes the characteristics of a cancer cell, whether it is likely to spread and at what speed
  • your ageespecially if you are older
  • Your current state of healthincluding general health, wellness and chronic disease
  • your performance status, a term that describes the ability to carry out daily activities while living with cancer

The one factor that almost always affects survival time is whether or not you seek treatment. Even among older patients with advanced cancer, some formschemotherapyIt has been proven to significantly increase survival time.

If detected early, lung cancer can even be completely cured. If you are older and presentmetastatic lung canceryou can continue to receive treatment and increase your chances of survivalat leastannually not less than 40%.

But for some people, survival is not the main goal, especially if they already have a low level of physical fitness. If the cancer is advanced, your ability to tolerate chemotherapy may be poor. If that's you, it's fair and reasonable to wonder how long you have to live if you doYeschoose a treatment.

(Video) Why some smokers don’t get lung cancer?

Given that approximately 80% of all lung cancer cases are diagnosed when the disease is advanced (toque 3lubricanttoque 4), this is a problem and a decision shared by many.

People who have not been treated withnon-small cell lung cancer, the most common form of the disease, can live from five to 12 months, depending on the stage.However, people fromsmall cell lung cancerthey usually survive three to 15 months without treatment (depending on the stage).

Benefits for survival and quality of life

Sometimes, the survival benefits of cancer treatment can be small. For example, if a healthcare professional believes that a certain chemotherapy regimen may extend your life by a few weeks, but may causedevastating side effects, you may decide that the consequences of treatment outweigh the benefits. And this is a perfectly reasonable and fair choice.

But it's also important to understand that there are many myths about lung cancer that can skew your perspective. One is that people reach a certain age when they are "too old" to be treated for lung cancer. truth,older people often tolerate procedures wellespecially the younger onesimmunotherapy drugsso called. checkpoint inhibitors, which may be better tolerated than traditional chemotherapy drugs.

Similarly,targeted therapieswhich directly target cancer cells and leave normal cells intact, generally have a milder effect than some chemotherapy drugs.

It is also important to recognize that chemotherapy regimens used today are not nearly as problematic as those of the past. For example, they cause less nausea, vomiting and fatigue caused by treatment.

Lung cancer treatment options

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Other reasons Some people give up treatment

There are many reasons why people may forego lung cancer treatment. In addition to quality of life or concerns about side effects of treatment, other factors can influence this decision - whether you're immediately aware of them or not.

Religious beliefs

Some people choose to donate to cancer treatment because of their religious beliefs. This includes people who are Christian Scientists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Amish or Scientologists. For them, their faith and beliefs often guide what is the "right" thing to do.

On the other hand, some people may turn to religion for treatment, believing that prayer or other practices can rid them of cancer. There is little evidence that it worked.

While faith is important in dealing with any illness (and can affect how well you feelcope with the disease), it is important to keep an open mind about the benefits and risks of cancer treatment if your faith does not oppose medical interventions.

If you have questions or crises, talk to a spiritual advisor in your faith, such as a pastor or rabbi, to help resolve any fears or issues you may be facing. This can help you make a more informed decision.

financial concerns

Sometimes people decide to forgo treatment for financial reasons. They may not want to deplete their limited savings that their family depends on. Or they may not have insurance or believe some treatments are unaffordable because they make too much or too little money.

There are funds for the uninsured or underinsured, as well as financial assistance programs to help cover the costs of medical care, transportation, home care, family services and other common issues.

Before avoiding treatmentmeditateyou can't pay, talk tosocial workerat the cancer center who can help you navigate the services and programs available.

These can be:

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  • health care:Available to people with low incomes as well as people with excessive medical expenses who need medical assistance
  • Benefits of social assistance:Available to people with limited income for help paying for medical care and making claimsmedical assistanceIf necessary
  • 2-1-1 services:Provides referrals for health care providers, mental health resources, transportation, food banks, financial assistance programs, health insurance, child care, and other services (available in most states)
  • Assistance programs in the hospital:Authorized by federal and state law to provide free or low-cost medical care to low-income or uninsured people
  • American Cancer Society:Offers programs to help individuals and families make treatment decisions and cope with emotional challenges
  • cancer treatment:A a national non-profit organization that provides free support, information and financial assistance to people with cancer
  • Ombudsman Foundation for Patients' Rights:A national non-profit organization that can refer you to financial aid programs and also offers down payment assistance for those who meet eligibility criteria
  • Patient Assistance Programs (PAP):It is offered by many drug manufacturers to help pay for drugs or co-pays

Do not decide to undergo cancer treatment for financial reasons without first consulting with a social worker experienced in cancer treatment or apatient browseroffered by many hospitals and cancer centers.

What is cancer insurance?

lung cancer stigma

Some people give up treatment because of this.lung cancer stigma. For smokers or ex-smokers, "guilt" can take over and lead them to believe that they somehow "deserve" the disease because they made a conscious choice to smoke.

No one deserves cancer, and lung cancer occurs inboth smokers and non-smokers. Like any life-threatening disease, lung cancer is treated with care and compassion, regardless of the possible causes.

If you are struggling with the diagnosis, ask your doctor for a referral to a psychiatrist or psychologist who can help you.support groupsthey are also available to put you in touch with others who understand first hand what you are going through.


If you are thinking about forgoing cancer treatment, you need to be sure that you have made an informed choice based on a thorough understanding of your disease and its possible effects. In addition, the information must be given in a language you understand, without undue influence or coercion.

Understanding cancer can be difficult. Sometimes there are misunderstandings. Medical terms can be difficult to understand and treatments can be easily confused and confusing.

(Video) Lung Cancer: Early Diagnosis, Treatment

If you are having trouble deciding whether you want to continue treatment without lung cancer treatment, there are four things you should do:

  • Always take your time and avoid snap judgments.
  • look forsecond, third and even fourth opinionsif necessary - everything you need to make a decision as safely as possible.
  • Ask as much as you need. Don't let providers dismiss or minimize your concerns. Be your own lawyer or find onepatient advocate.
  • Not only do you work with your doctor, but also with therapists and counselors who can help you deal with emotional issues.

Ultimately, you are in control of your own medical decisions. Try to walk this path with an open mind, take the time to listen and educate yourself before closing the door on treatment. If you decide to skip treatment, an explanation may help.Becausenot only for your loved ones and medical staff, but also for yourself. Own your decision. But also remember that you can change your mind.

If a loved one refuses treatment

If a loved one decides to forgo lung cancer treatment, it can be difficult and painful to hear. You may not be able to fully understand it at first. In these cases, let your loved one know that you hear them and love them, but need a day or two to process the messages.

If you decide you need more information, ask for sympathy. Avoid critical questions that start with "why" and give your loved one time to express themselves fully without interrupting or showing panic or disapproval.

Eventually, there will come a time when you will have to respect a loved one's decision, however difficult it may be. final acceptanceit will make you a better caregiverand prepare yourself emotionally for the moment when your loved one is no longer with you.

How to deal with early grief

A word from Verywell

It's therefour treatment approaches: prevention, treatment, management andpalliative. Keep this in mind if you have been diagnosed with lung cancer. Just because you've decided not to go for chemotherapy doesn't mean you don't have any options available.

(Video) Understanding Lung Cancer Survival Rate

Even if your lung cancer is not curable, you can still benefit greatly from it.palliative treatmentwhich can reduce pain and symptoms as the cancer progresses. Not only does this help maintain quality of life, but in some cases it can prolong survival without unnecessary suffering or stress - especially if started early.


Why some people are not treated for lung cancer? ›

This might be because the cancer is in a hard-to-reach spot or for other reasons, like if it's spread outside your lungs. It's also called unresectable lung cancer.

Has anyone ever survived lung cancer without treatment? ›

Conclusion. Systematic evaluation of evidence on prognosis of NSCLC without treatment shows that mortality is very high. Untreated lung cancer patients live on average for 7.15 months.

What happens if lung cancer is not treated? ›

More than half of lung cancer patients will die within one year of diagnosis even with treatment. Without treatment, patients may die even sooner. For any hope of survival, medical or surgical treatment is necessary.

Can lung cancer always be treated? ›

For patients who have small, early-stage lung cancer, the cure rate can be as high as 80% to 90%. Cure rates drop dramatically as the tumor becomes more advanced and involves lymph nodes or other parts of the body.

How fast does lung cancer spread without treatment? ›

Adenocarcinomas had a median doubling time of 261 days. Squamous cell carcinomas had a median doubling time of 70 days. Other lung cancers, which included large cell carcinomas and SCLC, also had a median doubling time of 70 days.

What stage of lung cancer is not curable? ›

There is currently no cure for stage 4 lung cancer, but treatment can relieve symptoms and prolong a person's life. People with low general health may have difficulty coping with cancer treatment.

How long can you live without knowing you have lung cancer? ›

Patients can (and usually do) live with lung cancer for many years before it becomes apparent. Early lung cancer is largely asymptomatic and internalisation of tumours means patients are not alerted by obvious physical changes.

Can lung cancer go into remission without treatment? ›

Spontaneous remission of malignant tumors, especially lung cancer, is rare and has been reported more in non‐small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) than SCLC. SCLC exhibits faster disease progression and poorer prognosis than other types of lung cancer.

Can lung cancer not be curable but treatable? ›

Lung cancer is usually considered curable if caught in the early stages. It's usually not curable if it spreads to distant tissues. Many combinations of treatments are used to treat lung cancer.

Can you live with incurable lung cancer? ›

However, getting a incurable lung cancer diagnosis is not automatically the same as being told you have a terminal illness. Your lung cancer may be incurable, but, with good treatment and ongoing care, you can lead a relatively normal life.

What are the chances of getting rid of lung cancer? ›

5-year relative survival rates for non-small cell lung cancer
SEER stage5-year relative survival rate
All SEER stages combined28%
Mar 1, 2023


1. If your lung cancer can't be cured
(Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation)
2. New pill offers hope for some people with lung cancer l GMA
(Good Morning America)
3. Cancer Patient Refuses Chemotherapy | Good Morning Britain
(Good Morning Britain)
4. 3 Plus Your Health- CHI Memorial Chest and Lung Cancer Center
(Local 3 News)
5. How does lung cancer affect the body?
(Nucleus Medical Media)
6. How to detect the deadliest form of cancer
(The Economist)


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