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How to know if lung cancer has metastasized

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
May 20, 2016
4.8 / 5(4 Ratings)
Quick Bites

  • Lung cancer takes away millions of lives every year.
  • It can spread to the other organs of the body.
  • Metastatic lung cancer reduces the chances of survival.
  • Metastatic lung cancer patients can live more than 5 years after diagnosis.

More

Lung cancer, a cancer that begins in the lungs, takes away millions of lives every year. According to the World Health Organization, lung cancer is responsible for killing more than a million people in the world every year among both men and women. Surprisingly, this rate is higher than the combined deaths caused by colon, prostate, ovarian and breast cancers. But have you heard of metastatic lung cancer? Well, it’s a cancer that spreads from the lungs to other organs of the body.

 

lung cancer



Metastatic lung cancer reduces the chances of survival. Less than 2 percent of metastatic lung cancer patients can live more than 5 years after diagnosis. So, how does one know if he/she has metastasized lung cancer?

 

Here are some signs of metastatic lung cancer

 

Signs of lung cancer that has metastasized to the brain

A patient whose lung cancer has metastasized to the brain may experience following symptoms:

  • Severe headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Seizures
  • Ataxia
  • Confusion

 

To identify the location and the size of the metastasized cancer, a magnetic resonance (MRI) or a computed tomography (CT) scan is done.

 

Signs of lung cancer that has metastasized to the spinal cord

A patient whose lung cancer has metastasized to the spinal cord may experience following symptoms

  • Back pain
  • Bowel or bladder dysfunction
  • Sensory loss
  • Weakness in lower limbs
  • Impairment of motor or sensory function of the lower limbs

 

Signs of lung cancer that has metastasized to the bones

Metastatic lung cancer in the bones commonly occurs in the small-cell lung cancer patients. Signs that lung cancer has metastasized to the bones include

  • Severe pain in the bones
  • Bone fractures


It mainly affects the ribs, spine, pelvis and proximal long bones. However, it can also metastasize to hands and feet.  An X-ray can be done to find out the location of the metastatic cancer.

 

Signs of lung cancer that has metastasized to the liver

  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite and fever


Other common symptoms that indicate your lung cancer that has metastasized include coughing, wheezing, chest pain , shortness of breath.

 

Image Source: Getty

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