Q. What is the life expectancy in cancer?

Answered by
Dr. Anshul Varshney
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jul 09, 2016 and last reviewed on: May 26, 2020

Hi doctor,

My friend has been having left shoulder pain for months. For the last three weeks, he is also having the hoarseness in his voice (can barely speak) and little energy. He is eating well, but not gaining weight. He has no other symptoms. He is a carpenter and 50 years old. He smokes cigarettes, weed and crack cocaine. I think he has been doing this for 30 years. Today, his blood test and blood pressure are fine. His chest x-ray came back with a large mass on his left lung, it looked large to me. He was given a TB shot other than that they suggested a specialist. It was an ER visit so they did not say much other than it could be a cancer. What does this sound like to you? I deeply appreciate any of your help. Thanking you in advance.



Welcome to

We are here to help you. I am really sorry to hear about his state.

  • The description given by you with x-ray findings (attachment removed to protect patient identitysupports the diagnosis of lung cancer. Tuberculosis is a possibility, but it is less likely.
  • Hoarseness of voice is a symptom of a mass compression caused by lung mass.
  • Now, my strong recommendation would be to go for a CT scan of chest as soon as possible along with FNAC (fine needle aspiration cytology) of the mass to prove the diagnosis and start the treatment.

For further information consult an internal medicine physician online -->

Thank you doctor,

I forgot to mention that he is having chest pain and some difficulty in breathing. I am scarred. What are his chances of beating this if it is a cancer? And what would be the extent of his life?



Welcome back to

  • Chest pain and breathlessness are a part of this problem. Only as the mass compresses the chest causing chest pain and the area of chest expansion is decreased as a result of mass causing breathlessness.
  • I really cannot comment on the life expectancy without knowing the type of cancer, if in case it is.
  • A lot many times, the mass is not a cancer and is benign in nature that can be removed with good life expectancy.
  • In case it is malignant, the histopathology would tell us the type, which would decide the treatment course as well as the life expectancy.
  • If, this is declared as cancer, we also need to find out that this is local only or has metastasized.
  • First of all we need to be sure, what it is exactly either it is a cancer only or a growth or tuberculosis.

For further doubts consult an internal medicine physician online -->

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