Coughing up blood is not generally associated with any particular stage of lung cancer over another, according to the American Cancer Society.
But most symptoms of lung cancer appear when the disease has already reached an advanced stage.
Coughing up blood is not an indicator of life expectancy beyond the stage of your cancer, as indicated by your doctor.
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), about 6.2 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with lung and bronchus cancer at some point in their lives. Approximately 18.6 percent of those people will still be alive five years after receiving a diagnosis.
The NCI also reports that the rates for new lung and bronchus cancer cases have been falling an average of 2.1 percent each year over the last 10 years. Death rates have been falling an average of 2.7 percent each year from 2006 to 2015.
Understanding the statistics
When reviewing life expectancy statistics, understand that they are at least 5 years old, so they do not reflect recent treatment developments. Also, they don’t take into account individual factors such as age and overall health.
Your oncologist can provide a more accurate assessment of your situation, although life expectancy estimation is not an exact science.
Coughing up blood is also a symptom of metastatic lung cancer, which is a cancer that has spread to the lungs from another area of the body.
Cancers that commonly metastasize to the lungs include:
- bladder cancer
- bone cancer
- breast cancer
- colorectal cancer
- kidney cancer
- prostate cancer
- testicular cancer
Metastatic lung cancer is often described as secondary lung cancer. This means that cancer that started somewhere else in the body has spread to the lung.
For example, if bladder cancer cells spread to form a tumor in the lung, bladder cancer is the primary cancer and lung cancer is the secondary cancer.
To estimate life expectancy of metastatic lung cancer, your doctor will consult data about the primary cancer.
Other than lung cancer, there are a number of other conditions commonly associated with the symptom, including:
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- cystic fibrosis
- esophageal cancer
- granulomatosis with polyangiitis
- lung abscess
- mitral valve stenosis
- parasitic infection
- pulmonary embolism
While these conditions are associated with coughing up blood, your doctor will perform a diagnosis to pinpoint the cause and suggest an appropriate treatment plan.
Unexplained coughing up blood is always a cause for concern and a reason to contact your doctor. If your cough is accompanied by dizziness or severe shortness of breath or your cough produces large volumes of blood (more than a few teaspoons), immediately seek emergency medical care.