Once cancer of the lungs begins in one place in the human body, and then it starts spreading to the other, it is known as metastasis. And when it gets to the brain, Lung Cancer Spreads To Brain would indicate that the primary lung cancer has made cancer in the brain, and this is secondary cancer.
Around 20 – 40% of adults, who suffer from non-small cell lung cancer, at some point or the other of this illness, develop brain metastases. The most frequent sites for metastases are:
- Nervous system
- Adrenal gland
- Other lung or respiratory system
How Lung Cancer Spreads To Brain?
Cancer of the lung is of two different types, and these are:
- Small Cell Lung Cancer: This accounts for about 10 – 15% of all cancers of the lung.
- Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: This accounts for around 80 – 85% of all cancers of the lung.
Typically, cancers of the lung spread all over the body, via the blood vessels and the lymph vessels.
Though it is much easier for the cancer of the lung to spread via the lymph vessels, it would generally take quite some time, until the secondary metastatic cancer can get a grip. But in the case of blood vessels, it is tougher for cancer to enter. But once it does, cancer starts spreading relatively faster.
In general, in the short term, what is worse is the metastasis via the blood cells. And in the long term, what is worse is the metastasis via the lymph cells.
What Symptoms Indicate That The Lung Cancer Is Spreading To The Brain?
If you have been diagnosed with cancer of the lungs, it is vital that you pay close attention to symptoms that would be indicative of brain metastasis, and these would include:
- Difficulty speaking.
- Headaches brought about due to swelling in the brain.
- Tingling sensations.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- The decrease in attention, memory, and reasoning.
If you notice you are suffering from any of these symptoms, you need to see a doctor at once.
How Can You Screen For Lung Cancer That Has Spread?
In order to get screened for metastatic brain cancer, radiology tests commonly used by doctors are:
- CT scan
- Sometimes, it is possible that a doctor could take a biopsy in order to find out if there is a brain cancer that is present.
Life Expectancy For Lung Cancer That Has Reached The Brain
Though age, ethnicity, as well as sex, could affect the survival of a person, the reality is that after a person has been diagnosed with brain metastases brought about by lung cancer, the life expectancy of the person is extremely poor.
If such a person does not get treated, the survival rate for the person is less than 6 months. If the person gets treatment, this number could increase by a bit.
For those people who get brain metastases, much after the diagnoses, their survival rate is a bit higher, as compared with those people whose lung cancer has metastasized to the brain much earlier. But, the difference is typically rather small.
The Final Stages When Lung Cancer Spreads To The Brain
What happens in the final stages, when the cancer of the lung spreads to the brain? These are the complications that arise:
- Breathing difficulties.
- Decreased consciousness.
- Cranial nerve palsy.
When a person is in the last stages of lung cancer that has spread to the brain, all that can be done for the person is to try and optimize the quality of life of the person by means of sociological, technological, psychological, and medical considerations.
What Are Lung Cancer Brain Metastases Treatments Available?
For the treatment of this type of cancer, the available options, are dependent on various factors, and these are:
- Age and health.
- The size, number, and location of brain tumors.
- The kind of primary cancer was diagnosed.
- The genetic behavior of the cancer cells.
- Other treatments attempted.
The treatment for metastatic brain cancer will depend on the original type of cancer of the lung. When cancer of the lung reaches the brain, it is still known as lung cancer and not brain cancer.
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What’s The Outlook Of Lung Cancer?
Cancer of the lung is the main cause of deaths due to cancer in women and men all over the globe. If cancer of the lung spreads to the brain, the prognosis can indeed be pretty unnerving.
If someone you love or for that matter, you are suffering from lung cancer, it is vital to be vigilant and also to keep a close watch for symptoms of brain metastases.
In case you happen to see such symptoms, you need to see a doctor immediately and discuss with the doctor what the available treatment options are. Which could increase the chances of survival or at least, provide some comfort or increase the life quality.
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