Metastatic lung cancer

What Is The Meaning Of The Term Metastatic?

Metastatic is a medical term, which means that the cancer cells travel from one organ system to the other.

Where Does The Lung Cancer Metastasize?

The lung cancer metastasizes from lungs to the other parts of the body, which include, breasts, colon, prostate and bladder.

How Does The Lung Cancer Metastasize?

The lung cancer metastasizes through blood stream, lymphatic circulation, and through direct invasion.

What Are The Symptoms And Signs Of Lung Cancer?

The symptoms and signs of lung cancer are cough, blood in sputum, shortness of breath, rib cage pain, weight loss and weakness.

How Is The Lung Cancer Diagnosed?

The lung cancer is diagnosed through a lot of different techniques, which are as follows:

  • Chest x-ray.
  • Cytologic studies.
  • Pleural fluid aspirate to look for cells.
  • Needle biopsy of the lung.
  • Bronchoscopy.
  • CT scan.
  • PET scan.
  • Bone scan.

Brief Explanation Of Some Of The Diagnosing Techniques

  • Chest x-ray: Chest x-ray is the most commonly performed technique to detect lung cancer. The chest x-ray is taken in posteroanterior and lateral views. There are opacities that are evident on the lung scan.
  • CT scan: CT scan is performed to diagnose whether the lung cancer has spread to different organ systems. For this reason, the low-dose CT scan is done to reveal the presence of the tumor foci that have spread to involve different organs. There are other areas that are scanned to reveal the metastasis of the cancer cells such as liver, adrenal glands, etc.
  • Bone scans. Since the lung cancer has the propensity to involve the bones, the bones are being scanned through bone scans. In this technique, a radioactive material is being infused into the bloodstream. The radioactive material is then taken up by the areas of the bones in which there is presence of the metastatic cancer. After that the images are being taken to read and know the extent of the spread in the bones. With the help of this study the metastasis to the bone is being diagnosed.
  • Blood tests. Metastatic cancer can also be diagnosed by performing blood tests. It can be diagnosed by the presence of increased levels of calcium or alkaline phosphatase. Likewise, with increased levels of aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase, it can be determined that the cancer has spread to the liver.

How Is Metastatic Lung Cancer Treated?

1. Chemotherapy. There are many regimens that are being planned to institute in the cancer patients in whom the cancer has metastasized. The regimen that is usually used is the chemotherapy. In the metastatic lung cancer, the cancer has spread to different organ systems of the body through bloodstream or have either directly invaded other organs. The chemotherapy is planned in metastatic cancer when it is not known exactly as to where the cancer has metastasized even after performing the CT scans. Therefore the chemotherapy is used to treat such cancers. There are times when the metastatic cancers are being treated with surgery depending upon the exact nature of the metastatic foci.

2. Radiation. When the metastatic lung cancer is being diagnosed, the oncologists always decide to give radiation therapy to the brain, as brain is the chief organ where the lung cancer metastasizes the most. Radiation therapy is given even if there is no evidence of metastasis of lung cancer to the brain. This type of treatment to the brain is known as prophylactic cranial irradiation. When the oncologist decides to give the patients radiation therapy, they go through the extensive risks and benefits with the patient and make them orientate regarding the metastasis that can occur to the brain and get a consent form signed from them. Radiation therapy is being chosen because of the fact to prevent metastasis of the cancer to the brain.

Piece Of Advice

It is always best to prevent the disease than to go for cure. We can change our lifestyle and can eat healthy and not smoke so as to prevent the cancer from occurring.


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