If the cancer is nearly gone, is it still stage 4?

Jannette13 asked...

My Mother was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in August, due to the cancer that broke her hip. They removed the cancer from her hip and fixed her hip. Since then we did ten rounds of radiation. They did scans the other day and said the only cancer they see is the one spot on her lung and it had shrunk. So my question is. Is it still stage 4 and what is her prognosis?

Expert Answer

Andrew Putnam, M.D. is a Palliative Care physician at Smilow Cancer Center at Yale New Haven Hospital and Yale University.

The stage of a cancer is a term that is given at diagnosis and does not change even if the cancer improves. The stage does not get downgraded even if the cancer disappears with treatment. So yes your mother is still considered Stage 4 lung cancer. Median survival is about 12 to 16 months but some people live several years and others die in a shorter time. It is very hard to predict for any single individual.