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Is Lung Cancer Curable? Learn the Treatment Options

Are you aware of the fact that worldwide lung cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer ? 

Stage I lung cancer patients can even live upto 20 years with advanced care. 

Lung cancer is a common type of cancer affecting the male population predominantly mainly with growing age. It has a poor prognosis when the cancer spreads beyond the lungs. 

If lung cancer is detected at an early stage, it may be curable with advanced treatment.  Lung cancer may have a good chance of recovery if you are treated well in a reputed hospital with an expert panel of doctors specialized in lung cancer treatment 

Let us know about the curability of lung cancer in India 

Is Lung Cancer Curable?

is lung cancer curable

The rate of cure of lung cancer is 80-90% when detected early and when it has not spread to other parts of the body. Diagnosis at an early stage and proper treatment can cure most of the cases of lung cancer. 

However, lung cancer can recur many years after it has stopped its progression. The longer someone lives his life with no evidence of cancer, the higher the chance the cancer will not return after many years. 

“Lung cancer free” doesn’t mean that the lung cancer is cured. 

Solid tumors in breast cancer, lung cancer, and Colon cancer can remain in the individual without any signs or symptoms and without any progression. This phenomenon is called remission. 

Lung cancer can have a long-term remission but the word “completely cured” can only be applied to non-solid cancers like leukemia. 

Death from lung cancer can be caused even after 15 years of remission and living a cancer-free life. 

Recurrence is more likely in the case of lung cancer known as lung adenocarcinoma  ( lung cancer of the mucuous secreting cell in the external part of the lungs)   than that of squamous cell lung cancer ( lung cancer of the internal airways of the lungs). It is not completely known how cancer can hide for many years and then re-appear. 

But, one of the causes may be due to cancer stem cells which are resistant to treatment and which lie dormant for a long period of time.

Lung Cancer with very little chance of recurrence

Lung cancer which has been detected in stage 1A is very small in size and has not spread to the blood vessels or lymph nodes. Such types of cancers lead to long-term survival following surgery and there is little chance of recurrence after its remission. 

Can Lung Cancer be cured with surgery?

Stages 1, 2, and 3 of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLS) can be operated. Survival rates may be from 70-80%. For stage 3A cancers which have spread to lymph nodes, survival rates are a little bit less like 30-40%. 

In Stage 3 when the cancer has spread to lymph nodes, then it is compulsory to remove the lymph nodes partially via surgery. 

It has been observed that patients with lymph nodes that have been completely removed have a survival rate of more than 40% after surgery.  


Chemotherapy is a therapy of a combination of drugs to kill cancer cells. There are 3 types of chemotherapy that are generally recommended:

1. New adjuvant therapy:

When the cancer has spread beyond the lungs and is quite large in size then it is necessary to shrink the cancer before performing surgery. One of the disadvantages of this therapy is there will be a delay in surgery due to side effects of chemotherapy.

2. Adjuvant chemotherapy:

In this therapy, medicine is given after the surgery to destroy any undetected cancer cells that have spread to different parts of the body.

3. Palliative therapy:

The intent of this therapy is not to cure and is generally meant to relieve the pain and symptoms of cancer. This is applied when lung cancer has metastasized in different parts of the body and the patient is going through the last stages of the disease.

Among both the types of chemotherapy adjuvant chemotherapy and neoadjuvant chemotherapy, adjuvant chemotherapy has been found to be more effective than the new adjuvant chemotherapy. It has also been found to be more effective in cases where no chemotherapy was applied before surgery.

Metastasis in different parts of the body like liver metastasis, bone metastasis, and brain metastasis can be treated with chemotherapy and targeted therapies.


Stereotactic radiotherapy (STRT) also known as cyber knife procedure is an effective surgery for early and late stage lung cancer. 25% of people undergoing this surgery did not have reoccurrence of lung cancer. 

Apart from cyber knife surgery, traditional radiation therapy is also used along with surgery to reduce recurrence and decrease the symptoms of lung cancer.                        

Targeted therapies:

Targeted therapies are often used to check the spreading in case of advanced lung cancer. Angiogenesis inhibitors prevent the growth of blood vessels around cancer so that the cancer cannot spread. 

Apart from that targeted therapies for mutated genes like EGFR, BRAF, MET, and KRAS are important to halt and shrink the growth of cancer in different ways.


This helps the immune system to fight against cancer. There are certain classes of drugs that are being evaluated in clinical trials and are also available in the market which activate the immune cells in the body to fight against cancer. 

This type of therapy has been successful in keeping the patient disease free for a long period of time.

 Chemotherapy, Surgery, and Radiation Therapy are done as the first line of treatment in all lung cancer cases. However, Immunotherapy and Targeted therapy depend on the stage of the disease, subtype of lung cancer, patient-specific cancer characteristics, and gene mutation involvement. It requires the expert opinion of the tumor board to decide the line of treatment. 

MedicoExperts Tumour Board: Lung cancer treatment 

MedicoExperts is a healthcare organization that has a well-renowned tumor board for consultation and treatment of lung cancer. 

The Tumour board is a panel of expert doctors who will decide the line of therapy for any stage, subtype, characteristic, and gene mutation of lung cancer. 

Medical oncologists, cancer surgeons, and radiotherapists take the right decision to plan a course of treatment for you. If you need continued support post-treatment, then also the panel specialists take care of you. 


Lung cancer is an aggressive disease that has a low survival rate and chances of recurrence. If detected at an early stage, it can be treated with surgery. 

However, late-stage lung cancers are also possible to get treated using advanced therapies like immunotherapy and targeted therapy. These therapies can prolong the survival rate and may help you live a longer life without much pain and symptoms.


Q1. How long can you live on lung cancer

Stage I lung cancer has a survival chance of 20 years with advanced treatment, however stage IV lung cancer with lymph node metastasis has a chance of 5-year survival of 30%.

Q2. Does lung cancer spread fast?

Lung cancer is an aggressive cancer that spreads fast without advanced treatment

Author: MedicoExperts

A Global Virtual Hospital

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