Lung Cancer Complication
Lung Cancer Complication
By Mayo Clinic Staff
Nov. 10, 2007

Lung cancer can cause complications, such as:

Fluid in the chest (pleural effusion). Lung cancer can cause fluid to accumulate in the space that surrounds the lungs in the chest cavity (pleural space). Pleural effusion can result from cancer spreading outside the lungs or in reaction to lung cancer inside the lungs. Fluid accumulating in the chest can cause shortness of breath. Treatments are available to drain the fluid from your chest and reduce the risk that pleural effusion will occur again. Cancer that spreads to the pleura is considered inoperable, so surgery isn't an option for treatment.
Cancer that spreads to other parts of the body (metastasis). Lung cancer often spreads (metastasizes) to other parts of the body — most commonly the opposite lung, brain, bones, liver and adrenal glands. Cancer that spreads can cause signs and symptoms, including pain, nausea, headaches or others based on what organ is affected. In some cases, treatments are available for isolated metastasis, but in most cases, the goal of treatment for metastasis is only to relieve signs and symptoms.
Death. Unfortunately, survival rates haven't improved for people diagnosed with lung cancer. In most cases, the disease is fatal. Almost 60 percent, or three out of every five people, diagnosed with lung cancer die within a year. Keep in mind, however, that this number includes people diagnosed with all types of lung cancer at all stages of the disease. People diagnosed at the earliest stages have the greatest chances for a cure. Your doctor can discuss more relevant statistics about your chances for survival with you.

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