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Bronchoscopy
Bronchoscopy


Lung cancer, lateral chest X-ray
Lung cancer, lateral chest X-ray


Lung cancer, frontal chest X-ray
Lung cancer, frontal chest X-ray


Coal workers pneumoconiosis - stage II
Coal workers pneumoconiosis - stage II


Coal workers pneumoconiosis - stage II #2
Coal workers pneumoconiosis - stage II #2


Coal workers pneumoconiosis, complicated
Coal workers pneumoconiosis, complicated


Coal workers pneumoconiosis, complicated #2
Coal workers pneumoconiosis, complicated #2


Pulmonary nodule - front view chest X-ray
Pulmonary nodule - front view chest X-ray


Pulmonary nodule, solitary - CT scan
Pulmonary nodule, solitary - CT scan


Sarcoid, stage II - chest X-ray
Sarcoid, stage II - chest X-ray


Lung with squamous cell cancer - CT scan
Lung with squamous cell cancer - CT scan


Respiratory system
Respiratory system


Lung metastases

Definition:

Lung metastases are cancerous tumors that start somewhere else in the body and spread to the lungs.



Alternative Names:

Metastases to the lung; Metastatic cancer to the lung



Causes:

Metastatic tumors in the lungs are cancers that developed at other places in the body (or other parts of the lungs) and spread through the bloodstream or lymphatic system to the lungs. It is different than lung cancer that starts in the lungs.

Nearly any cancer can spread to the lungs. Common cancers include:



Symptoms:

Symptoms may include any of the following:

In most cases, there are no lung-related symptoms when the tumors are found.



Exams and Tests:

The doctor or nurse will examine you and ask about your medical history and symptoms. Tests that may be done include:



Treatment:

Chemotherapy is usually used to treat metastatic cancer to the lung. Surgery to remove the tumors may be done when any of the following occurs:

  • The first (primary) tumor has been removed
  • The cancer has spread to only limited areas of the lung
  • The lung tumors can be completely removed with surgery

However, the main tumor must be curable, and the patient must be strong enough to go through the surgery and recovery.

Less common treatments include:

There are other experimental treatments. One of these treatments uses local heat probes to destroy the area. Another places chemotherapy medicines directly into the artery that supplies blood to the part of the lung containing the tumor.



Support Groups:

You can ease the stress of illness by joining a support group where members share common experiences and problems.



Outlook (Prognosis):

A cure is unlikely in most cases of cancers that have spread to the lungs. But the outlook depends on the underlying cancer. Some cancers, such as lymphoma, are very treatable and even curable. In general, it is rare for someone to live more than 5 years with metastatic cancer to the lungs.

You and your family may want to start thinking about end-of-life planning, such as:

  • Palliative care
  • Hospice care
  • Advance care directives
  • Health care agents


Possible Complications:
  • Fluid around the heart (pericardial effusion), which can cause shortness of breath
  • Fluid between the lung and chest wall (pleural effusion), which can cause shortness of breath or pain when taking a deep breath
  • Further spread of the cancer
  • Side effects of chemotherapy or radiation therapy


When to Contact a Medical Professional:

Call your health care provider if you have a history of cancer and you develop:

  • Coughing up blood
  • Persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unexplained weight loss


Prevention:

Not all cancers can be prevented. However, many can be prevented by:

  • Eating healthy¬†foods
  • Exercising regularly
  • Limiting alcohol consumption
  • Not smoking


References:

Arenberg D, Pickens A. Metastatic malignant tumors. In: Mason RJ, Murray JF, Broaddus VC, et al., eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2010:chap 49.




Review Date: 5/29/2014
Reviewed By: Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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Chilton Medical Center
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Goryeb Children's Hospital
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Atlantic Medical Group
1-800-247-9580

Morristown Medical Center

100 Madison Avenue
Morristown, NJ 07960
973-971-5000

Overlook Medical Center

99 Beauvoir Avenue
Summit, NJ 07901
908-522-2000

Newton Medical Center

175 High Street
Newton, NJ 07860
973-383-2121

Chilton Medical Center

97 West Parkway
Pompton Plains, NJ 07444
973-831-5000

Goryeb Children's Hospital

100 Madison Avenue
Morristown, NJ 07960
973-971-5000

Affiliated Providers

Atlantic Medical Group

More than 600 community-based health care providers.
1-800-247-9580

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