Lung cancer may
cause breathing or heart problems such as:
- Pleural effusion, which is the buildup of fluid
between the outer lining of the lungs and the chest wall. This is a common
condition with lung cancer.
- Coughing up large amounts of bloody sputum.
- Collapse of a lung (pneumothorax).
- Blockage of the airway (bronchial obstruction).
- Recurrent infections, such as
- Pericardial effusion, which is the buildup of fluid in
the space between the heart and the sac around the heart (pericardium). This
condition is not common with lung cancer.
As lung cancer grows, it may spread (metastasize) to other
parts of the body. Lung cancer is classified in
stages that are determined by the size of the cancer
and how far it has spread within the lung, to nearby tissues, or to other
Your doctor determines the stage of your lung cancer by
gathering information from a variety of tests, including
CT scans, and
X-rays. The stage of your cancer is one of the most
important factors in choosing an effective treatment.
long-term outcome (prognosis) for lung cancer depends
on how much the cancer has grown and spread. Experts talk about prognosis in
terms of "5-year survival rates." The 5-year survival rate means the percentage
of people who are still alive 5 years or longer after their cancer was
discovered. Because lung cancer is often diagnosed at an advanced stage, only
16% of people live 5 or more years after being diagnosed.1 It is important to remember that these are only averages.
Everyone's case is different, and these numbers do not necessarily show what
will happen to you.
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