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There is no average stage four cancer life expectancy which is relevant amongst all types of cancer. Some cancers, such as pancreatic cancer, have a very short expected survival rate while others, such as testicular cancer, may have a high survival rate. Many patients who are diagnosed with stage four cancer will not live one year. Others may survive five years, or more, depending on where the primary cancer is located and where it has spread.
Cancer is classified as being in stage four when cancer cells have spread from the original, or primary, location to other areas of the body. This would include areas which are farthest from the site of the primary cancer. The overall stage four life expectancy is much lower than that of lower stages of cancer. Many patients die well before five years, with many passing after only a few months to one year.
Some types of cancer may be more responsive to treatments than others, even in the later stages. Cancer of the testes are one example. The overall five year survival rate for testicular cancer patients with stage four disease is 95%.
The life expectancy for someone with stage four cancer may be increased if patients who are otherwise healthy, who have certain easier to treat cancers, or who receive a combination of aggressive treatments as soon as possible. The elderly, patients who are sick aside from their cancer, and very young children have the lowest life expectancy. Where within the body the primary cancer has spread will also play a role in survival and treatment.
In some cases, doctors may attempt to increase stage four cancer life expectancy in patients who may still respond to treatment. Common cancer treatments include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. Other patients may only be given medications to ease pain and immediately life threatening conditions, such as trouble breathing. These patients often do not live long and may be sent home for their final days.
Each patient may have a unique stage four cancer life expectancy, even with a common type of cancer. Occasionally, someone with progressed and aggressive cancer will go into a remission. Each person will be treated based on his or her medical history, preferences, and type of cancer.
As trite as it sounds, a positive outlook can also extend the life of someone with stage 4 cancer. We all know someone who has lived longer than they were given. Look at Valerie Harper. She was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, and is now almost in remission. Her attitude during her illness has been nothing short of commendable, and I don't know that I would live out the rest of my life with the same grace that she has shown.