Like other cancers, lung cancer is divided into stages. Staging helps doctors decide the best treatment options for the patient. Stage IV is the highest stage of lung cancer.
When a patient has reached stage IV lung cancer, there are cancerous growths on multiple parts of one or both lungs. The cancer has also probably spread to other distant parts of the body such as the bones or brain.
There are fewer treatment options for stage IV cancer. Some possible options include chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy and clinical trials.
Chemotherapy is given either intravenously or orally to kill the cancer cells throughout the body. For someone with stage IV cancer, this treatment is aimed more to ease the cancer effects for the patient rather than to extend his or her life.
Targeted therapy is a relatively new treatment. Targeted therapy and clinical trials are often recommended for stage IV lung cancer patients because there is unfortunately little chance of seeing a cure. These trials give patients a chance to live longer if successful.
According to Oncology Channel, the average survival rate for someone with stage IV lung cancer is eight months. The five-year survival rate of a stage IV cancer patients is two per cent, per the American Cancer Society.