End-of-Life Lung Cancer Signs
Feb 04, · Stage 4 lung cancer is the most advanced stage of lung cancer. In stage 4, the cancer has spread (metastasized) to both lungs, the area around the lungs, or distant organs. The most common type of Author: Scott Frothingham. Apr 08, · Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is one of two major types of lung cancer, and the more common. NSCLC stages, which range from stage I to stage IV, are determined based on several factors, including the main lung tumor’s size and whether the cancer has spread to lymph nodes near the lungs or metastasized farther away in the body.
After someone is diagnosed with small cell lung cancer SCLCdoctors will try to figure out if it has spread, and if so, how far. This process is called staging. The stage of a cancer describes how much cancer is in the body. It helps determine how serious the cancer is and how best to treat it. Doctors also use a cancer's stage when talking about survival statistics. The stage of SCLC is based on the results of physical exams, biopsies, imaging tests, and any other tests that have been done as described in Tests for Lung Cancer.
For treatment purposes, most doctors use a 2-stage system that divides SCLC into limited stage and extensive stage. For limited stage cancer, a person might benefit from more aggressive treatments such as chemotherapy combined with radiation therapy to try to cure the smalp. For extensive stage disease, chemotherapy alone is likely to be a better option to control not cure the cancer.
This means that the cancer is only on one side of the chest and can be treated with a single radiation field. This generally includes cancers that are only in one lung unless tumors are widespread throughout the lungand that might also have reached the smakl nodes on the same side of the chest. Cancer in lymph nodes above the collarbone called supraclavicular nodes might still be considered limited stage cancrr long as they are on the same side of the chest as the cancer.
Some doctors also include lymph nodes at the center of the chest mediastinal lymph nodes even how to build stone steps on a hill they are closer to the other side of the chest.
Only about 1 out of 3 people with SCLC have limited stage cancer when it is first found. This describes cancers that have spread widely throughout the lung, to the other lung, to lymph nodes on the other side of the chest, or to other parts of the body including the bone marrow. Many doctors consider SCLC that has spread to the fluid around the lung to be yo stage as well.
About 2 out of 3 people with SCLC have extensive disease when their cancer is first found. Numbers or letters appear after T, N, and M to provide more details about each of these factors. Higher numbers mean the cancer is more advanced. Once the T, N, and M categories have been determined, this information is combined in a process called stage groupingto assign an overall stage.
For more information, see Cancer Staging. The other main stages range from I 1 through IV 4. Some of these stages are broken down further with letters or numbers. As a rule, the lower the stage number, the less the cancer has spread. A higher number, such as stage IV, means cancer has spread expcet. And within a stage, an earlier letter or number means a lower stage. Staging with the TNM system can be complex, so if your health care team is using it, ask them to explain it to you in a way you understand.
Tips for managing end-of-life lung cancer.
Nov 10, · Questions about life expectancy are often the first ones asked when someone is diagnosed with stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the most advanced stage of the disease in which cancer has spread (metastasized) from the primary tumor to distant organs. The median survival time for those with stage 4 lung cancer is around four months. Oct 01, · A higher number, such as stage IV, means cancer has spread more. And within a stage, an earlier letter (or number) means a lower stage. The same TNM staging system is used for both SCLC and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), although it’s generally not as important for SCLC. Small cell lung cancers are staged as limited stage and extensive stage. Limited stage means that the cancer is only in one lung and maybe in lymph nodes on the same side of the chest. It is called extensive stage if the cancer has spread to the other lung, to lymph nodes on the other side of the chest, or to distant organs.
The lungs are 2 sponge-like organs found in the chest. The right lung has 3 parts called lobes. The left lung has 2 lobes. The left lung is smaller because the heart takes up more room on that side of the body. The lungs bring air in and out of the body. They take in oxygen and get rid of carbon dioxide, a waste product.
The windpipe, or trachea , brings air down into the lungs. It splits into 2 tubes called bronchi. They are treated in different ways. This only covers small cell lung cancer. Symptoms of lung cancer are cough, chest pain, and trouble breathing. The doctor will ask you questions about your health and do a physical exam. If signs point to lung cancer, more tests will be done.
Here are some of the tests you may need :. Chest x-ray: This is often the first test used to look for spots on your lungs. If a change is seen, you will need more tests. A CT scan is a special kind of x-ray that takes detailed pictures of your insides. CT scans can also be used to do a biopsy see below. PET scan: A type of sugar is put in one of your veins for this test. Then, pictures of your insides are taken with a special camera. Biopsy : For a biopsy, the doctor takes out a small piece of the lung tumor.
This is the best way to know for sure if you have cancer. Bronchoscopy : A thin, lighted, flexible tube is passed through your mouth into the bronchi.
The doctor can look through the tube to find tumors. The tube also can be used to take out a piece of the tumor or fluid to see if there are cancer cells.
Blood tests: Blood tests are not used to find lung cancer, but they are done to tell the doctor more about your health. If you have lung cancer, the doctor will want to find out how far it has spread. This is called staging. Knowing the cancer's stage helps your doctor decide what treatment is best for you.
For small cell lung cancer, a 2-stage system is most often used. Small cell lung cancers are staged as limited stage and extensive stage. If your cancer is limited stage, you might get radiation or chemotherapy chemo treatments to try to cure the cancer. An extensive stage cancer will be treated, but is less likely to be cured.
Be sure to ask your doctor about your cancer's stage and what it might mean. There are many ways to treat small cell lung cancer, but the main types of treatment are radiation, and chemotherapy. In rare cases, surgery may be used. Many times, more than one kind of treatment is used. Radiation uses high-energy rays such as x-rays to kill cancer cells. Or it could be used on the brain to try to keep the cancer from spreading there. Radiation can also be used to relieve symptoms, such as pain, bleeding, trouble swallowing, or other problems.
If your doctor suggests radiation as your treatment, talk to him about what side effects might happen. The most common side effects of radiation are:. Most side effects get better after treatment ends. Some might last longer. Talk to your doctor about what you can expect.
Chemo is the short word for chemotherapy or the use of drugs to fight cancer. Chemo is most often the main treatment for small cell lung cancer. The drugs may be given through a needle into a vein or taken as pills. These drugs go into the blood and spread through the body. Chemo is given in cycles or rounds that can go on for many months. This gives the body time to recover. Most of the time 2 chemo drugs are given. Chemo can make you feel very tired, feel sick to your stomach, and cause your hair to fall out.
But these problems go away after treatment ends. There are ways to treat most chemo side effects. If you have any side effects, be sure to talk to your doctor or nurse so they can help.
In most cases, you will not have surgery if you have small cell lung cancer. In a few cases, if the cancer is very small and has not spread, surgery might be done to take out all or part of your lung. Sometimes, fluid collects in the chest and causes breathing problems. This fluid can be taken out by putting a small tube in the chest. After the fluid is drained out, a drug is put into the tube. This helps seal the space and keep fluid from building up again.
Any type of surgery can have some risks and side effects. Be sure to ask the doctor what you can expect. If you are having problems, let your doctors know. Doctors who treat people with lung cancer should be able to help you with any problems that come up.
Immunotherapy is treatment that either boosts your own immune system or uses man-made versions of parts of the immune system that attack the small cell lung cancer cells. These drugs may be given into a vein.
Immunotherapy can cause many different side effects depending on which drug is used. These drugs often make you feel tired, sick to your stomach, and cause a skin rash. Most of these problems go away after treatment ends. There are ways to treat most of the side effects caused by immunotherapy. If you have side effects, talk to your cancer care team so they can help.
Clinical trials are research studies that test new drugs or other treatments in people. They compare standard treatments with others that may be better. Clinical trials are one way to the newest cancer treatment. They are the best way for doctors to find better ways to treat cancer.
And if you do sign up for a clinical trial, you can always stop at any time. If you would like to learn more about clinical trials that might be right for you, start by asking your doctor if your clinic or hospital conducts clinical trials. See Clinical Trials to learn more. When you have cancer you might hear about other ways to treat your cancer or treat your symptoms. These may not always be standard medical treatments. These treatments may be vitamins, herbs, diets, and other things.
You may wonder about these treatments. Some of these are known to help, but many have not been tested. Some have been shown not to be helpful. A few have even been found to be harmful. Even when cancer never comes back, people still worry about this. For years after treatment ends, you will see your cancer doctor. Be sure to go to all of these follow-up visits.
You will have exams, blood tests, and maybe other tests to tell if the cancer has come back. For the first year after treatment, your visits may be every 2 to 3 months. You may have CT scans and blood tests. After the first year or so, your visits might be every 6 months, and then at least once a year after 5 years. Having cancer and dealing with treatment can be hard, but it can also be a time to look at your life in new ways.
You might be thinking about how to improve your health. Call us at or talk to your cancer care team to find out what you can do to feel better. What you can change is how you live the rest of your life — making healthy choices and feeling as well as you can.