Lung cancer is diagnosed at an advanced stage in a majority of patients. Recent advances made in the treatment of lung cancer have resulted in a prolongation in survival and an improvement in quality of life. The majority of lung cancer patients experience multiple symptoms, which result from both the cancer and its treatment. Fatigue and anemia cause significant morbidity and impaired quality of life among patients with lung cancer. They also contribute to a suboptimal response to treatment modalities such as radiation, decreased performance status, and poor patient compliance with treatment. The impact of anemia is frequently under-recognized. Improvements in survival made with multimodality therapy can only be meaningful when combined with interventions to improve symptoms and overall quality of life. Prompt recognition of these problems and early intervention are an integral part of cancer therapy. In this review, we discuss the impact of anemia and the treatment options that could contribute to a truly meaningful survival in lung cancer patients.
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