So we all have Google. We know the 5-year-survival rate for someone with my diagnosis is less than 1%. In fact, it rounds to zero. It sounds terrifying and, at first, I was pretty down about it. But then I learned a lot that made me realize those odds don’t really apply to me:
- The average age of someone diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer is 71. Mean average, I believe. There are plenty more 20- and 30-year-olds being diagnosed than 120- and 130-year-olds so we can assume there are many more people over 71 than under 71 contributing to that scary-sounding number. I suspect the 5 year survival rate for that cohort even without cancer is a bit more dire than for a freshly minted 40-year-old like me.
- By definition, the data for that prognosis is based entirely on people who were diagnosed with cancer over 5 years ago. There have been so many advances in treatment since then that aren’t accounted for. The first immunotherapy treatments were only approved in 2015. [2019 update: I’m currently responding to a treatment that hasn’t even been approved in my country!]
- As long a it’s possible for anyone to survive, it’s going to be me. Even though remission isn’t generally considered a goal of treatment for my diagnosis, I’ve found 2 cases. It is possible. One thousand is zero percent of a million. Alternatively, I’d also be fine living with cancer as a chronic disease for the next 40 years or so.
Please keep positive with me. Know that I’m enjoying every bit of life right now just like I plan to do for a long time.