What Organs Are Affected by Lung Cancer?

As lung cancer is seldom diagnosed while at an early stage, and usually only by accident after a doctor has ordered a routine chest X-ray for another health issue, other vital organs in the body have already been affected by metastasis (its spread). It is quite common for 25% of all lung cancer sufferers to show no signs at all of having lung cancer present.

Unfortunately for many, the damage that has been caused to these organs is usually permanent. As the disease develops, metastasis is usually found not only in regional tissue, but in distant tissue too, allowing for it to move with relative ease throughout the body while infecting whatever gets in its way. Organs commonly affected by lung cancer are:

The Liver – Often the liver and adrenal glands (endocrine [glands that secrete hormones directly into the blood, and not through a duct] that sit at the top of the kidneys) are affected over a considerable amount of time without any noticeable symptoms to the sufferer.

The Brain – Usually the first symptoms that the brain has been affected by lung cancer metastasis is when the sufferer begins to have visual problems, memory loss problems, headaches, a noticeable loss of strength, or a partial seizure has occurred.

The Bones – When the bones have been affected, usually a noticeable discomfort will be present either in the vertebrae (backbone), or the ribs and thighs. Although these symptoms may be present much more earlier on, they usually either go unnoticed, or just get put down to the after-effects of something else.

The Nerves – Also prone to lung cancer metastasis are the nerves, when affected can cause many sufferers to experience aching pains in the shoulders that may also run along the outer-side of either arm.

The Vocal Cords – When the esophagus (the conduit that connects the mouth and stomach) has been affected, a sufferer may experience difficulty in swallowing. Often, this is when part of the lung has collapsed, resulting in an infection in the lung that can be extremely difficult to treat.

General Symptoms – When more organs in the body have been affected, a lack of appetite, weight loss (usually occurring when no exercise or dietary regime has been put in place), bleeding, and blood clotting may be noticed. Often when these symptoms are present, they easily go unnoticed due to being similar to the after-effects of other less serious illnesses.

However, if symptoms are persistent, it is always prudent to get them checked out by a doctor as soon as possible, as when lung cancer has metastasized to other vital organs in the body, a patients 5-year prognosis after diagnosis, is usually very poor.

Besides the Lungs, Other Organs Affected by Lung Cancer

Unfortunately for many sufferers, lung cancer is seldom diagnosed when it is in its early stages, and is usually only discovered by accident when either a routine chest X-ray, or a CT (computer tomography) scan is ordered by a doctor for another health issue. Some 25% of all lung cancer sufferers tend to show no signs of having lung cancer present, meaning that when the disease is eventually diagnosed, it is usually in its late and final stages. Other organs in the body at this stage have also usually been caused some degree of damage. This damage is usually permanent.

As the disease develops within the lung, the outer tissues of the lung are invaded by cancerous cells, as are other nearby tissues. This development enables the lung cancer to be able to spread to other organs in the body with relative ease. The disease can infiltrate the liver and adrenal glands, which often occurs over a period of time without any noticeable symptoms to the sufferer. When symptoms of visual problems begin to occur, it is usually because the lung cancer has spread to the brain, which may cause the sufferer to have a seizure. A loss of strength may also be noticed.

Bones can also be affected by lung cancer, usually noticeable with a discomfort in either the vertebrae (backbone), or the ribs and thighs. The nerves can also be attacked, which causes many sufferers to experience continuous aching pains in the (deltoids) shoulders, and a pain that runs along the outer side of the arm. Vocal chords may be affected when the cancer has spread to the esophagus (the conduit that connects the mouth and stomach) causing difficulty in swallowing. This is usually caused when a portion of the lung has collapsed, resulting in a severe, difficult to treat lung infection.

Other common symptoms caused by lung cancer are a lack of appetite, a noticeable weight loss (usually occurring rapidly), headaches, sluggishness, memory loss problems, bleeding and clotting. These symptoms often go untreated for long periods of time before a sufferer feels the need to deal with them, as they often get associated with other less serious health issues. When a sufferer has been diagnosed with late stage lung cancer, most of the damage has already been caused to the body, resulting in a sufferer having a low prognosis (life expectancy), usually under five years from when the disease was first diagnosed.