This Sunday millions of Americans will be in front of their television sets to watch the final eight episodes of the last season of the AMC hit series Breaking Bad. The audience currently questions how the series finale will conclude asking questions about how Walter White will escape the radar of brother-in-law and Assistant Special Agent of the DEA in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Hank Schrader. White, commonly known as Heisenberg in the drug empire, is now the number one crystal meth (metamphetamine) in New Mexico and not to mention the DEA’s most wanted man alive. The drug lord began his own meth business alongside former student and business partner, Jesse Pickman shortly after he was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS) statistics estimates for 2013, there will be approximately 230,000 new cases of lung cancer and approximately 160,000 lung cancer related deaths. The survival rate of patients with small cell lung cancer are measured based on the five year survival rate – people who are still alive five years after their cancer has been diagnosed. Based on the rates of the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) database, only 2 percent of small cell lung cancer patients make it to the fifth year survival rate, Mr. White was originally diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer.

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Could Walter White beat the odds of his inoperable lung cancer returning? Medical Daily takes a closer look at Mr. White’s lung cancer progression and remission throughout all five seasons.

Season One: Lung Cancer Diagnosis

After Mr. White’s 50th birthday, he was diagnosed with stage-three terminal lung cancer, and the doctor’s prognosis is that he had less than two years to live. In stage two and three of lung cancer, the cancer is larger and could possibly grow into the surrounding lung tissues, with the chance of cancer cells in the lymph nodes, says Cancer Research UK. Stage 3B, considered to be advanced lung cancer is thought not to be curable but treatable, like Mr. White’s diagnosis.

After a short while Mr. White admits to his family that he has inoperable lung cancer to which his family pushes him to visit doctors and undergo chemotherapy. The cancer patient prefers to die rather than suffer the side effects of chemotherapy such as losing your hair, but agrees to do so for the sake of his family. Mayo Clinic lists the side effects of chemotherapy here.

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Season Two: Scan Reveals Blotch On Chest

As a follow-up, Mr. White gets a scan done on his chest to see whether the cancer has spread to the rest of the body after chemotherapy. The cancer patient believes his cancer has spread and therefore panics in a frenzy because he only has $16,000 of meth money remaining. The doctor reveals to Walter the blotch is a treatable side effect of the radiation he has received for cancer treatment, his tumor has shrunk by 80 percent. For inoperable lung cancer, radiation therapy can help shrink a tumor and in even some cases cure a cancer.

Season Three: Cancer Treatment Costs

In season three, Mr. White’s wife, Skyler, wants to divorce her husband because of the shady business he is involved in. she threatens to reveal how Walter dealt drugs to pay for his costly cancer treatments. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the average cost of a 30-day cancer drug prescription is more than $1,600, while new cancer treatments can cost as much as $10,000 for a month’s supply. The deal Gus makes Walt of 3 million dollars for three months service could help Walt provide for his family and pay his cancer treatment bills. Mr. White refuses and continues to be the legendary Heisenberg.

Season Four And Season Five: Lung Cancer Remission

Throughout the two seasons, Mr. White continues his cancer treatments. In season five, on Walter’s 51st birthday, marks a year since he received his lung cancer diagnosis. The tension between Mr. White and his wife Skyler thickens as she begins to have an increased hatred for her husband who she doesn’t even know anymore. In the last episode of the first half of season five, Skyler tells Walter she is waiting for his cancer to return. Providence Health & Services says, people who have had lung cancer have about a two percent chance per year of forming a second cancer, either of the lung or of other organs.

 

The last scene of season five the audience was left with was Walter with his hair grown out and a messy beard celebrating his now 52nd birthday at a dinner – two years after his initial lung cancer diagnosis. Walt begins to have a hacking cough and takes some medications.

Read More: Lung Cancer Screening For Heavy Smokers Recommended By U.S. Preventative Services Task Force

Could the next half of the final season reveal the return of Walter’s cancer?

 

Tune in on AMC, Sunday, August 11 at 9/8C to watch the season five second half premiere of Breaking Bad.