Complications can arise as lung cancer progresses. Often they occur when the cancer spreads to other areas of the body. Sometimes the complications are caused by treatments.
Effects on the lungs
The spread of lung cancer can cause blockages in the major airways or the buildup of fluid around the lungs (pleural effusion). This may result in shortness of breath (dyspnea). Over time, the lack of oxygen can cause heart problems like heart failure. A build up of fluid in the lungs over time can lead to pneumonia. This can cause chest pain, fever, and eventually lead to hospitalization.
People with lung cancer may experience hemoptysis, coughing up blood. This is due to bleeding in the airways. Treatments are available to help control this type of bleeding.
Neuropathy is a disorder that affects the nerves, mainly to the hands and feet. This condition can be caused by lung cancer that grows near the nerves in the arm or shoulder. It can also be caused by cancer treatments. When the cancer or its treatment damages these nerves, it causes tingling, numbness, weakness, and pain in the affected areas. Neuropathy may often be controlled with medication.
If cancer in the lungs grows into the neck or face, it can affect the nerves in this area. This can cause Horner syndrome, a condition in which the eye on one side of the face has a droopy eyelid (ptosis). There may be constriction of the pupil of the affected eye, and a lack of sweating of the affected side of the face.
Tumors in the chest can also affect the nerves around the voice box, causing hoarseness and voice changes. Neuropathy may often be controlled with medication.
Pain usually occurs in the chest area or other parts of the body where lung cancer has spread. This usually happens in advanced stages of the disease and can be managed with medication and radiation.
Lung cancer can cause problems by affecting other body organs such as the heart and esophagus. If tumors grow near the heart or major vessels, they can compress or block the veins and arteries. This can cause swelling in the chest, neck, and face. Moreover, this can also lead to vision problems, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Tumors near the heart can also upset the heart’s normal rhythm or cause a buildup of fluid around the heart.
If the lung cancer grows around the esophagus, you may have trouble swallowing or experience more pain when food passes through the esophagus on the way to the stomach.
Complications from lung cancer can occur. It is important to know the symptoms and signs of these complications so you can catch and treat them early, if necessary.
If you have been diagnosed with lung cancer, talk to your doctor to get a better idea of your outlook.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.