Implications of Metastatic Lung Cancer
Lung carcinomas can be a primary cancer or be the result of another cancer metastasis. The two conditions are very different, although the treatment generally follows very similar courses.
Metastatic Cancer to the Lungs
Metastatic lung cancer can occur when certain other cancers elude either detection or treatment and spread to the lungs. According to the National Institutes of Health, all cancers can metastasize into lung tissue but some of the cancers that will most commonly do so include: bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, kidney cancer, neuroblastoma, prostrate cancer and sarcoma.
Treatment of Metastatic Lung Cancers
The most common treatment for any form of secondary cancer is chemotherapy. The key is to focus on the primary tumor while still treating the metastasis in its own right. One of the challenges in treating metastatic lung cancer is that not all of the tumors are large enough to appear on a CAT or PET scan. In some instances, if the area of tumor spread is consolidated in a single portion of a lung, a lobectomy or other surgery may be in order once the primary tumor is in remission or removed.
Places Lung Carcinoma May Metastasize
If your primary cancer is in the lungs, there is strong chance it may metastasize to other parts of the body. Some of the most common places for lung cancer to travel include the lymphatic system, the nervous system, and to the bones.
By doing specific tests regarding the structure of the cancer cells, physicians can usually determine the origin of the particular cancer. Secondary brain tumors to primary lung carcinoma still carry the structure of the lung tissue from which the cancer originally formed.
This can be useful to doctors in developing an overall treatment program because, at times, secondary cancers are found prior to the primary disease. For example, headaches from a secondary brain tumor that are removed and biopsied may yield a diagnosis of primary lung carcinoma.
Any metastasis from or to the lung is generally a condition with a poor prognosis. However, its discovery can yield more effective treatment and better quality of life as a result.