How does lung cancer metastasis spread?
When lung cancer is metastatic, it means that it has started to spread. What this means, in essence, is that the cancerous cells will separate themselves from the tumor and travel along the blood or lymph system to other areas in the body.
We may ask ourselves, are all lung cancers metastatic? Well, metastatic lung cancers usually develop at an advanced phase, usually stage 3 or stage 4. But it also depends on how the cancer cells have spread. A large growth of cancerous cells in the lungs slowly invades healthy tissues around it. When it affects healthy tissues in the lung, we say it’s a local metastasis.
What are the symptoms of lung cancer metastasis?
- Pain in the bones (like pain in the back or hips).
- From cancer spread to the brain, symptoms of nervous system collapse (such as headaches, weakness or numbness of an arm or leg, dizziness, balance problems, or seizures).
- Colouring of the skin and eyes (jaundice) from cancer spread to the liver.
- Swelling of lymph nodes (a collection of immune system cells) such as those in the neck or above the collarbone.
- Lung cancer metastasis causes the brain to develop brain metastases, which can cause headaches, mood swings, paralysis and other issues as well.