Why is the prognosis of non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) generally poor?

Updated: Jul 15, 2021
  • Author: Winston W Tan, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Nagla Abdel Karim, MD, PhD  more...
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Most lung carcinomas are diagnosed at an advanced stage, conferring a poor prognosis. The need to diagnose lung cancer at an early and potentially curable stage is thus obvious. (See Prognosis.) In addition, most patients who develop lung cancer have been smokers and have smoking-related damage to the heart and lungs, making aggressive surgical or multimodality therapies less viable options.

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