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An Overview of Stage IV Lung Cancer

written by: Time2go • edited by: lrohner • updated: 1/18/2011

Lung cancer can be very aggressive once it has spread to other areas of the body. This particular type of cancer is reported to kill over 100,000 people per year, which is more than colon, prostate, and breast cancer all combined.

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    Stages of Lung Cancer

    The progression of most cancers is broken into stages that can help a doctor determine what treatments are more suitable for the patient at that particular time. It also helps to determine the patient's outcome or chance of survival, also known as the prognosis.

    There are two types of stages of lung cancer: Non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) and small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC). Stage IV lung cancer is the most dangerous stage of the NSCLC because this is when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, including the brain.

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    What to Expect During Stage lV

    Stage lV cancer is also known as the metastatic cancer, which is when the disease has spread to the bone. A patient will usually experiences a great deal of pain when the cancer begins to infect the bones and nerve endings, and this is why it is important to have X-rays, blood tests and CT scans to determine which treatment will slow down the cancerous growth.

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    Signs and Symptoms of Stage lV

    Many people experience different signs and symptoms when battling cancer at stage IV, and it is said to be very uncomfortable because the patient's airways are becoming impacted with cancerous tumors.

    Signs and symptoms:

    • Excessive coughing with bloody mucous
    • Painful Headaches
    • Hormone imbalance
    • Muscle aches and tenderness
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    Treatment Options for Stage IV

    There are several types of treatment available for stage IV lung cancer.The purpose of the treatments are to slow down the growth of the cancerous tumors before they are able to go into the final stage.

    • Surgery is no longer an option during this stage of cancer since operating could make the cancer spread even more.
    • Chemotherapy is a treatment option that may have therapeutic benefits for cancer patients. It is also a procedure that is used as attempt to hinder cancer cells from dividing. Chemotherapy will require the patient to treated up to six times in a four-month time frame.
    • Radiation is also an option for those with metastatic lung cancer.
    • Both radiation and chemotherapy treatment can be combined depending on how severe the cancer has become.

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    Alternative Treatment

    Many people diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer might consider alternative treatments as an option, but it is not recommended, especially at this stage. Always remember that a patient has the right to get a second opionion if he or she chooses to do so. If the treatments are not successful, then it is time to prepare for the patient's final stage. This means home or hospice care arrangements and/ or therapy for coping with the disease. There are many options and choices for patients who will need assistance and support during that time.

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    Sources

    http://www.webmd.com/lung-cancer/guide/lung-cancer-overview-facts

    http://www.webmd.com/lung-cancer/guide/lung-cancer-symptoms-types

    http://www.webmd.com/lung-cancer/default.htm

    http://chestjournal.chestpubs.org/content/123/1_suppl/226S.abstract

    http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_4_3x_How_Is_Non-Small_Cell_Lung_Cancer_Staged.asp?sitearea=