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On the Move: Where Lung Cancers Most Frequently Spread


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2/4/2011
Jeffrey H. Dover
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A cancer diagnosis is obviously a scary, life-changing event. But what can make matters even worse is when more than one cancer exists in the body. This can occur through metastasis, when one cancer spreads through the body and develops in a distant tissue or organ. For non-small cell lung cancers, a stage IV diagnosis would mean that metastasis has occurred. If the lung cancer is classified as small cell, the advanced stage where metastasis has happened is known as the extensive stage.

When lung cancers have the opportunity to metastasize, they have a tendency to spread to certain areas of the body more frequently than others. The lymph nodes, which are rounded masses of tissue surrounded by connective tissues which allow for the travel of lymph and white blood cells, are often one of the first targets for the spread of lung cancer. Beyond the lymph nodes, the brain, bones, liver and adrenal glands are common locations for secondary cancers to develop due to the spread of lung cancer. The parts of the skeleton which are generally most at risk of being affected by the spread of lung cancer are the spine, ribs and pelvis.

Although not quite as common, lung cancers have also been known the spread to the:

• Stomach
• Breasts
• Eyes
• Small intestine
• Large intestine
• Pancreas
• Kidney
• Skin

If the lung cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, the stage of the cancer may not be in the most advanced stage. However, if it has spread to anywhere else in the body, the most advanced stage has been reached and more aggressive treatment options may be recommended by the doctor. If an inaccurate stage is diagnosed by a doctor, the patient can suffer unnecessarily. Those with lung cancers staged incorrectly might receive treatment which is either too drastic for the actual stage of cancer or not aggressive enough to truly be effective.


Category: Failure to Diagnose Cancer


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