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Special Feature |

Long-term Survivorship in Lung Cancer*: A Review

Hiroshi Sugimura, MD; Ping Yang, MD, PhD
Author and Funding Information

*From the Department of Health Sciences Research, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN.

Correspondence to: Ping Yang, MD, PhD, Department of Health Sciences Research, Mayo Clinic, 200 First St SW, Rochester, MN 55905; e-mail: Yang.ping@mayo.edu



Chest. 2006;129(4):1088-1097. doi:10.1378/chest.129.4.1088
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While outcome research in lung cancer has focused mainly on short-term survival and quality of life (QoL), information on long-term (ie, > 5 years postdiagnosis) lung cancer survivorship remains limited. This review addresses the epidemiologic significance of long-term lung cancer (LTLC) survivors, summarizes the current knowledge on their health and QoL, and suggests areas for further research in LTLC survivorship. Based on a small body of literature, lung cancer survivors do not experience the same quantity and QoL as their age-matched peers or as survivors of other cancers. Survival among 5-year survivors of lung cancer relative to the general US population with the same demographic characteristics is approximately 60%, and lung cancer survivors score lowest in health utility among long-term survivors of other cancers. Approximately one-quarter of long-term lung cancer (LTLC) survivors were significantly restricted in physical ability or reported significant depressive symptoms. There is a need to identify and intervene with subgroups of survivors who are at an elevated risk of premature death and diminished QoL. Lung cancer-specific survival alone does not reflect the overall illness burden in LTLC survivors. Patient care in lung cancer survivors should be continuous and comprehensive in considering multiple causes of health deterioration. Multidisciplinary research in epidemiologic, clinical, and basic science approaches is warranted to further our knowledge base for optimal long-term management and to develop the necessary intervention strategies among LTLC survivors.

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