Lung cancer is most often regarded as an older person’s disease, but this is not always true. Lung cancer can affect the younger population as well. However, lung cancer is less commonly diagnosed in young people as compared to the elderly. According to the American Cancer Society, the average age at which lung cancer is most commonly diagnosed is 70 years. Around 53% of these lung cancer cases are diagnosed between the age of 55 to 74 and 37% in people above 75 years of age. According to an article published in the Translational Lung Cancer Research, around 10% of cases of lung cancer occur in people below 55 years of age. As per a study published in the Journal of Cancer in 2019, approximately 1.4% of cases of lung cancer were diagnosed in the younger population, that is, those below 35 years of age.
So in this article, let us learn all about lung cancer at a young age, its type, survival rate, treatment, and the cost of lung transplantation.
The most common type of lung cancer that is predominantly diagnosed in people at a young age is adenocarcinoma. It is a form of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) wherein the cells forming the outer lining of the lungs become cancerous. Lung cancer is diagnosed at a more advanced stage in young adults. In almost 70% of cases of lung cancer in adults, the condition is diagnosed at stage IV which is known as metastatic cancer. Metastasis refers to the condition in which lung cancer has spread to other locations in the body as well. In the younger population, cancer most commonly spreads to the brain, liver, bones, lung tissue, and the lining of the lungs. This is an extremely challenging stage to cure.
The lung cancer in young adults survival rate largely depends on the stage at which the cancer is diagnosed. According to the American Cancer’s Society (ACS), International Agency for Research on Cancer, and Cancer Facts and Figures 2022, the 5-year survival rate is 22% for all types of lung cancer. This includes an 18% 5-year survival rate for men and 25% for women. In the case of NSCLC specifically, the 5-year survival rate is around 26% as compared to 7% which is for small cell lung cancer. Out of this, the survival rate for localized NSCLC is 63%, regional NSCLC is 35%, and for metastatic lung cancer, it is 7%. The 5-year survival rate refers to the percentage of people who have survived for at least 5 years after they were diagnosed with lung cancer.
The diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer in adults are not very different from the one carried out in the elderly population. Lung cancer at a young age can be diagnosed through imaging tests like computed tomography (CT Scan), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or investigative procedures like sputum cytology or bronchoscopy. Your doctor will also advise a biopsy for the diagnosis of lung cancer.
The treatment of lung cancer in young adults is majorly dependent on what stage and grade the lung cancer is diagnosed. The several options available for lung cancer treatment in adults include:
The lung cancer treatment cost is highly variable. It largely depends on what stage of lung cancer it is, what treatment is given to you, whether or not chemotherapy or radiotherapy is given to you, and what drugs are prescribed to you for treatment. The surgical lung transplant cost is also dependent on the type of surgery that you need, that is, whether you require single, bilateral, or a combined surgery. Other factors that may determine the lung cancer treatment cost are the hospital and the skill and expertise of the surgeon who performs your surgery.
Lung cancer is becoming more and more common in the younger population in both males and females. The main cause of the increasing occurrence is still unknown. The late diagnosis of lung cancer makes the treatment of the disease more difficult. However, this does not mean that lung cancer cannot be treated especially after the approval of targeted therapy and our advancements in lung cancer surgery. An early diagnosis of lung cancer can make the treatment more effective. Now that you know that lung cancer can affect you at a younger age as well, make sure that you do not take any symptoms lightly and consult your doctor in case of any discomfort.
Yes, lung cancer is a very aggressive form of cancer that can spread rapidly in your body.
Lung cancer in young adults is usually diagnosed in stage III or IV.
The major symptoms of lung cancer in stage I are persistent and chronic cough, presence of blood in the mucus, shortness of breath, consistent chest pain, and frequent lung infection.
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License Number: U.P State Medical Council (India) No. 27637