Lung Cancer Patients Who Have Surgery Live Longer, Study Finds

According to researchers from the University of California – Davis Health System, patients suffering from late-stage, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have surgery have better survival rates than patients who do not have surgery. This was an interesting study for the research team because they also discovered fewer patients are undergoing surgery despite the survival rate being higher. This raised an important question, according to Science Daily, “Why aren't more patients being evaluated for surgery as part of a comprehensive treatment regimen for the world's deadliest cancer?”

During the study, the team evaluated roughly 34,000 patients with stage IIIA, IIIB, or IV NSCLC. While they analyzed the data set, they found patients who underwent surgery had better survival rates than those who did not have surgery. They also discovered 27% of patients with this cancer had received no treatment at all. Of course, undergoing cancer treatment is a personal decision, so while the researchers speculate chemotherapy and other treatment options weren’t offered it could be that the patient adamantly denied wanting treatment – we might never know the exact answer.

UC Davis Assistant Professor of Surgery and First Study Author Elizabeth David stated, "treatment with chemotherapy is increasing, but surgical treatment is decreasing. We have a treatment that we know improves survival when offered to appropriate candidates, but we're offering it to fewer people. We need to understand why this is happening."

According to Science Daily, this form of cancer (NSCLC) is the leading cause of cancer death, causing more than 1.4 million people to die from it each year. The researchers also discovered patients that received the following treatments responded with these survival rates:

  • Chemotherapy and radiation = 11.9 months
  • Chemotherapy = 10.5 months
  • Radiation = 3.7 months

David also stated, “As practitioners, we need to be aware of these disparities and make sure all groups have the same access to care -- that 27 percent number has room for improvement."

Again, seeking treatment for cancer is a personal decision. The team at Scottsdale Liberty Hospital respects the choices of patients. Regardless, they also know that surgical treatment can be very promising. If you have questions about your surgery, whether its cancer-related or not, we’re here to help. Call Scottsdale Liberty Hospital today to meet with your surgeon. If you’re interested in learning more about the results from this study, please visit Science Daily:

For more information on Scottsdale Liberty Hospital and how we can help you or a loved one, visit our information request page, or contact us at 480-586-2300

The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.