Cancer can become metastatic and spread throughout the body when cancer cells break away from a tumor and travel through the blood or the lymph system. Because early stages of lung cancer do not have symptoms, it is common for lung cancer to metastasize before it is diagnosed.
Both Small Cell Lung Cancer and Large Cell Carcinoma, a type of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer, are aggressive and spread more rapidly than the other types of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.
Risk Factors for Metastatic Lung Cancer
Tobacco – The amount and rate at which you smoke increases your chances of developing lung cancer. That makes tobacco use the most significant risk factor for metastatic lung cancer.
Symptoms of Metastatic Lung Cancer
Metastatic Lung Cancer symptoms depend on the part of the body to which the cancer has spread, as well as upon its size and location.
If the cancer has spread to the bones, it may cause bone pain, often in the vertebrae (spinal bones) or ribs. It may also cause fractures, constipation or decreased alertness due to high calcium levels in the bloodstream.
If the cancer spreads to the liver, symptoms may include nausea, extreme fatigue, increased abdominal girth, fluid buildup and swelling in the face, arms, neck, feet and/or hands, and yellowing or itchy skin.
If the cancer spreads to the spinal cord or brain, symptoms may include headache, blurred or double vision, difficulty with speech or seizures.
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