Original Article

Lung Cancer in Young Adults: A Single-Center Experience

Authors: Stuart Jones, BS, Timothy Mullett, MD, Daniel Davenport, PhD, Sibu Saha, MD


Objective: This single-center retrospective review examines the unique characteristics of young patients (ages 18 to 40 years) who were diagnosed as having non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) at Markey Cancer Center, the only National Cancer Institute–designated cancer center in the state of Kentucky.

Methods: This retrospective study examines adult patients with NSCLC who were between ages 18 and 40 at diagnosis. Patients diagnosed between 2012 and 2018 were included. The final cohort consisted of 35 patients. The data collected included patient demographic information, tumor topography, clinical stage, cell type, treatment information/dates, metastasis, and survival data.

Results: In total, 36 of 3246 total NSCLC cases treated at Markey Cancer Center from 2012 to 2018 were diagnosed in adults aged 18 to 40 (1.11%); 35 of these 36 patients were included in our cohort. The majority (22; 62.86%) presented at an advanced stage of disease (stage III or IV). Furthermore, our cohort consisted of a strong majority of female patients (24; 68.57%). The most common histological type was adenocarcinoma (14; 40.00%). The 5-year survival rate was 47% (standard error 9%).

Conclusions: Lung cancer is rare in young patients; when present, often it presents at the advanced stage. Despite many diagnostic tools and treatment modalities available, long-term survival remains poor. Our experience showed a small proportion of patients with NSCLC aged 18 to 40 at diagnosis; among this unique patient population, there is a predominance of smokers, women, adenocarcinoma, and advanced disease.
Posted in: Lung Cancer – Clinical Presentation & Diagnosis1

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