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Lynne Eldridge MD

Spontaneous Remission of Lung Cancer - A Rare Miracle

By December 5, 2010

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I have been asked more than once if lung cancer ever "just goes away." While it is indeed very rare, I had to share a report published in the journal Surgery Today, and hope that it warms your heart as it did mine.


In this report, a 69 year old woman was found to have an adenocarcinoma, a form of non-small cell lung cancer, which had spread (metastasized) to her adrenal glands. Since her cancer had spread beyond her lungs it would be classified as stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer. One month following her diagnosis and before she had any treatment, both the tumor in her lung and the metastasis to her adrenal gland had shrunk considerably on both a CT scan and a PET scan. She then underwent surgery and was doing well 14 months later.

In the literature there are scattered reports of "spontaneous remission" from lung cancer. Spontaneous remission of cancer is defined as a partial or complete, permanent or temporary remission of a cancer without treatment, or with treatment that would not be expected to cause a tumor to decrease as much as it does. Considered a more common finding with some other cancers, such as leukemia and lymphomas, spontaneous remission has been reported with lung cancer. Overall it is felt to occur in roughly 1 in 140,000 people diagnosed with cancer.

Why would I write about such a rare occurrence? The last thing I want to do, after all, is raise false hope.

The primary reason is to remind everyone that we are not statistics. The numbers describing lung cancer survival rates are just that - numbers. Though helpful when looking at the "big picture" they don't necessarily dictate the experience an individual will have with lung cancer. People with lung cancer are real people - not numbers.

The other reason is that if we can understand why lung cancer simply "goes away" in some cases, we might be able to develop better treatments. A host of reasons for spontaneous remission have been proposed. The most common suggest our immune system is able to "fight" off the tumor for some reason, but other explanations ranging from infections to spiritual reasons have been proposed. Knowing that sometimes lung cancer "mysteriously" goes away without treatment reminds us that we have much to learn, and hopefully that knowledge will guide us in directions that can make a difference in the future.

Photo: National Cancer Institute


Haruki, T. et al. Spontaneous regression of lung adenocarcinoma: Report of a case. Surgery Today. 2010. 40(12):1155-8.

February 28, 2011 at 6:34 pm
(1) Chris Russell says:

Hi. My name is Chris Russell and I was diagnosed with stage IV non-small lung cancer in 2003. After having a near-death experience in 2000 in which I was actually pronouced dead, I also had a spiritual face-to-face encounter with Jesus the Christ who intantaneously healed me. I’ve been cancer free since my metastisis in 2003. I guess my case is also a miracle.
In His Grace,
Chris Russell

February 28, 2011 at 6:35 pm
(2) Chris Russell says:

I’m a survivor after being diagnosed with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer in 2003.

March 7, 2011 at 2:26 am
(3) Winter Grace says:

did you have any treatments?! conventional or alternative? visual healing?

March 7, 2011 at 2:27 am
(4) Winter Grace says:

did you have any treatments? conventional or alternative? visual healing?

June 9, 2011 at 9:49 pm
(5) Colleen says:

Awesome…Just Awesome..God is Good

February 18, 2012 at 7:50 pm
(6) John Simms says:

Except to the millions who die of cancer every year

August 23, 2012 at 8:06 pm
(7) Joe says:

I was diagnosed with Stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer in 2007. When I refused the treatment plan of 3 rounds of chemo followed by a thoracotomy to remove a dozen lymph nodes followed by 6 weeks of radiation, the thoracic surgeon said I was crazy and would likely die within 1-2 years. I found an excellent energy healer who helped me change my thought patterns. Each CT scan since shows “slight regression”. When the surgeon sees me in the hallways of the hospital I work in, she just shakes her head in disbelief.

September 21, 2012 at 5:13 pm
(8) Pat Moon says:

January 2012 my 91 year old mother was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma stage IV (non small cell lung cancer) that had spread to the ribs, spine, & pelvic. I wrote a blog about her journey in July 2012: http://bestrealhealth.com/mamas-cancer-journey-prayer-supplements-andor-medicine/ She is being treated with Tarceva. Now, late Sept. she is becoming a little more frail but still eats well and does her normal daily activities and is still pain free. She is scheduled for a PET scan on Oct. 2 so we are anxious to see what is happening at that time. She will be 92 years old in Oct 2012.

November 3, 2012 at 12:15 am
(9) Deb Hayward says:

Thanks to all who have shared their miracles of healing and/or extended life. My husband was diagnosed with non small cell lung cancer on October 1, 2012. We were sent to the ER on Sept. 20 by our family doctor when my husband’s ribs did not stop hurting after a fall in late August. CT scan showed a 2 masses–one in left lung and another deteriorating ribs. PET scan shows lymph node involvement and a mass in the liver. My husband gets anxious over the time it takes for all the testing and we have not yet started treatment. We have many in our church and other friends and family praying for Bruce. We do need a miracle and know God sometimes heals instantly, sometimes through medicine, and sometimes he has another way for us and will gives us His peace. I hope that I can write that we have had a miracle of one kind or another with this cancer giant, but if not, what is most important is the miracle of eternal life in Christ which waits for Bruce now or later. To God be the glory.

December 1, 2012 at 9:39 pm
(10) rose says:

Dear deb,

I can relate to your husband’s feelings of anxiety waiting for the testing….I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010..had surgery and radiation treatments was told I w as cancer free…then found out in Sept. 2012…after experiencing back pain and pain behind my ear that the breast cancer metastisized to my spine, lung and neck…I am a born again christian and do believe in healing..praying for
your husbands miracle..God Bless and strengthen you both…

December 13, 2012 at 5:43 pm
(11) Nicola says:

First of all my heart goes out to you all. My fiance Derek (46) was diagnosed with Lung cancer december 2012 he was in hospital for 2 and a half months with 4 litres of fluid on his lungs the fluid got tested and the doctors said it was Malignant pleural effusion. Derek got home on 6th december 2012 he is well enough to look after him and hes still eating. He has asked the doctors to do a Biopsy to see if the cancer has spread and what stage its at. Throughout derek being in the hospital we prayed to God Jesus Archangels and Ascended masters to send healing to him and for him to come home we thank god, jesus, angels and ascended masters for all they done for him, As the doctors at the hospital said derek would never get out the hospital and he would pass away there. So miracles do happen and we are continuing to pray that derek makes a full recovery. x x x

December 17, 2012 at 12:32 pm
(12) Candace says:

Hi All,
I know that the miracles are rare. I am just searching everywhere for a little hope. We just found out that my mom (51) has 3 spots of cancer on her lungs as well as in several lymph nodes. They said on average she as a year. She is going to do 6 rounds of chemo ( one day every 3 weeks). I am curious if the chemo itself can sent the cancer into remission at all? I am also wondering where the best place is for a second opinion? Any words of wisdom would be great.


December 20, 2012 at 1:23 pm
(13) Jan says:

December 2007 my husband John was diagnosed with lung cancer – after removal of his right lung (Jan 2008) , followed by chemo and radiation we were hopeful…however in 2010 tumors were found in his 7th and 8th ribs – this time radiation and chemo were used to reduce the pain ..John was then treated with Tarceva for approx 1 year – pain had returned in his rib area and spots in his liver were changing. John then underwent high dose raidaiton to his liver and more radiation to his ribs…we have just had our 2nd 3 month followup with oncology since the liver and rib treatments and all clear – although the turmors are not completeley gone, they have shrunk and no new hot spots….We are very happy, although it has been quite a journey – we are hopeful and what a great time of year to celebrate.

December 31, 2012 at 5:27 pm
(14) K says:

I believe that the miracles can be small, yet yield big rewards. I had stage 3a inoperable LC. Radiation, chemotherapy and prayer eventually made surgery a possibility, but I would lose my entire right lung. With more prayer, when I awoke from surgery I learned I still had two lobes of my right lung… the tumor was small enough that they were able to just do a lobectomy. Nearing the third anniversary of my diagnosis, and just passed the second anniversary of having no evidence of disease. Miracles happen!

April 3, 2013 at 9:32 am
(15) TERRI says:

I have found that energy healing and acupuncture are great adjuncts to any type of chemo. It helps with side effects, gives you energy and helps your immune system fight the cancer.

October 8, 2013 at 11:28 pm
(16) vlalerie stuhlmiller says:

my lung cancer is going away !!!! im 49 years old,dec2011 i was given 8to12 mo the non small cell adenocarsonoma had matastise to my lymphnodes rapped around the artery to my heart went into my left lung. i was very sick,then around 3 weeks ago i just started breathing better, and every day sence . i had xrays today to see for sure if it has all gone away!along with aprox 22 treatments of radiation i treated myself.ask me how on my timeline on facebook valerie stuhlmiller

October 8, 2013 at 11:55 pm
(17) lungcancer says:

Thank you so much for sharing Valerie. What hope your story brings!

November 1, 2013 at 12:37 am
(18) Cheryl says:

It is so great to read these inspiring stories. My dad which is my best friend and the most wonderful man I have ever known was just diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer. He just started chemo and radiation and has a long journey ahead of him. I have so much hope and faith that my prayers will be answered and that he will get through this. I believe this has brought me closer to God and that through my faith and my love for God and my Dad he will beat this.

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