Statistics For Small Cell Lung Cancer

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Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths across the globe, with an estimated 2.1 million new cases and 1.8 million deaths in 2018 ​1​. Small cell lung cancer comprises 250,000 new cases causing approximately 200,000 deaths worldwide. All histological subtypes in lung cancer are more prevalent among the high-income countries evolving tobacco consumption use ​2​. The population belonging to the age group of >70 years of age in the USA has been majorly affected by SCLC, representing a sudden increase from 23% in 1975 to 44% in 2010 ​3​.

Considering the histopathologic types of lung cancer, SCLC is mainly prevalent among individuals aged 60-80 years. Therefore, the prevalence of small cell lung cancer tends to increase with age, along with the presence of multi-morbidity with poor outcomes ​4​ The prevalence of small cell lung cancer in the USA has shown a sudden decline in the past three decades, representing the decreasing prevalence of cigarette smoking ​5​.

The five-year survival rate

The five-year survival rate reveals the percentage of individuals living longer with at least five years after the confirmation of cancer. Hence, the general five-year survival rate for individuals with small cell lung cancer is estimated to be 7%. The survival rates of SCLC patients depend upon several factors, such as a stage. The individuals diagnosed with localized SCLC revealed that cancer has not spread outside the lungs representing a five-year survival rate of 27%.

The regional SCLC among the patients revealed that cancer has spread outside the lungs to the nearby organs showing a five-year survival rate of 16%. If cancer has spread to distant body parts, the five-year survival rate is 3%. Hence, the survival rates for the SCLC patients are considered in the form of estimation only. This estimation is from the annual data depending on the number of individuals with cancer in the United States. Also, several experts have estimated the survival statistics for every five years. Therefore, the small cell lung cancer statistics represent the better diagnosis or treatment available for less than five years.

Increasing Survival Rates

 The years from 1983 to 2012 have represented the stability of median survival and overall survival among SCLC patients. The five-year survival rate tends to increase from 4.9% (1983 through 1993) to 6.4% (2002 through 2012). The median survival has shown stability at seven months. Relative survival rates (RSRs) have also demonstrated resilience. Hence, more survival improvements have been observed in the younger patients of small cell lung cancer ​6​


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    Francisci S, Minicozzi P, Pierannunzio D, et al. Survival patterns in lung and pleural cancer in Europe 1999–2007: Results from the EUROCARE-5 study. European Journal of Cancer. Published online October 2015:2242-2253. doi:10.1016/j.ejca.2015.07.033
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    Franco F, Carcereny E, Guirado M, et al. Epidemiology, treatment, and survival in small cell lung cancer in Spain: Data from the Thoracic Tumor Registry. Ganti AK, ed. PLoS ONE. Published online June 2, 2021:e0251761. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0251761
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    Breitling LP, Rinke A, Gress TM. Recent Survival Trends in High-Grade Neuroendocrine Neoplasms and Lung Cancer. Neuroendocrinology. Published online May 13, 2019:225-233. doi:10.1159/000500883
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