Uncontrolled and abnormal growth of cells in the lungs or the growth of malignant tumors in the lungs is known as “lung cancer.” Benign tumors are easy to eliminate, since they do not spread to other parts of the body, but malignant tumors are aggressive by nature, invade nearby lymph nodes, tissues and organs. They can even attack and destroy distant organs. Tumor cells are transferred to other places in the body through the bloodstream or lymphatic system. When the malignant tumor originating in the lung differentials moves to other sites, the condition is known as “metastatic lung cancer.” As cancer forms metastasis, it is known as cancer in the advanced stage.
Symptoms in the advanced state of lung cancer
Smoking or being exposed to tobacco smoke (passive smokers), air pollution, increases the risk of lung cancer. There are several types of lung cancer. Studies show that in about 90-95% of cases, lung cancer develops in the cells present in the lining of the bronchi and bronchioles (the airways). It can develop in the pleura (mesotheliomas), in the supporting tissues or in the blood vessels. Once it forms, the cancer spreads to other parts of the body relatively faster. Cancer metastasis can be seen anywhere in the body, but the most common places of metastasis are the glands, bones, brain, liver and adrenal glands.
The first signs of lung cancer are more likely to go unnoticed. In the preliminary or early stage, symptoms such as chronic cough, difficulty breathing, blood in the sputum, pain in the chest, shoulders, arms or back, bronchitis or prolonged pneumonia, infection may be present pulmonary, loss of appetite, joint pain, etc. Some patients do not notice any symptoms until the cancer is detected on routine exams or on X-rays.
When the cancer spreads to adjacent tissues or structures, or from distant bones, the following symptoms can be seen:
- The constant tea
- Wheezing, difficulty breathing
- Blood in sputum
- Chest pain
- Shoulder pain
- Pain in the arms
- Vocal chord dysfunction resulting in hoarseness
- Damage to some part of the lung leads to a greater number of lung infections, abscesses, etc.
- Excessive weight loss
- Excessive fatigue
- Mood swings, depression
- The difficulty in swallowing
- Unbearable pain in places where cancer has spread to the bones
- Overproduction of cortisol hormone by the adrenal glands (Cushing’s syndrome)
- High levels of calcium in the blood
- When cancer spreads in the brain, such symptoms as blurred vision, headache and seizures can be observed.
- The spread of cancer in the brain can present the symptoms of a stroke, as well as weakness or loss of sensation in the parts of the body.
The stage of advanced lung cancer and prognosis
Lung cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to treat. Doctors check the symptoms through chest X-rays, CT scans, bone scans, test results (for example, sputum cytology), biopsy reports and then determine treatment. Since the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, it is impossible to remove the cancer surgically. It is even difficult to control the growth of cancer. However, depending on the symptoms and the degree to which the cancer has spread in the body, chemotherapy and radiotherapy are recommended. Radiation of the brain is also recommended to treat very early. The treatment of metastatic lung cancer can lead to short-term memory problems, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, hair loss and other side effects. When the cancer is in the advanced stage, the treatment focuses on reducing the pain experienced by the patient.
The general. at five years the survival rate for lung cancer is 16%, which is very low, compared to the other types of cancer. The prognosis of metastatic lung cancer is very poor, since the survival rate for advanced lung cancer is very low. The survival time of patients treated with advanced lung cancer is only 2-4 months after diagnosis, as it is a rapidly spreading cancer. With one treatment, the survival time can be extended to a few months only. In patients who survive for five years or more, usually, lung cancer that has been confined to the lungs, has been detected at an early stage. Therefore, routine check-up is necessary,