Symptoms of Primary Lung Cancer and Metastatic Lung Cancer

Metastatic lung cancer is the kind of lung cancer that has originally started in the lung, and has metastasized from other parts of the body from the lungs.

Difference between metastatic lung cancer and metastatic cancer to the lungs

When cancer occurs elsewhere in the body it can get into the blood stream or the lymphatic stream of the body, and spread to the lungs, causing metastatic cancer to the lungs. The locations of cancer that most typically cause this form of lung cancer are, bladder cancer, breast cancer, kidney cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, Wilms tumor (a form of childhood kidney cancer), sarcoma, or Neuroblastoma (a cancer of the nerve tissue seen in children).

Metastatic Lung CancerThese are not the only cancers that can metastasize into lung cancer; practically any kind of cancer can spread to the lungs.

In some cases the primary cancer’s location may be unclear and the secondary lung cancer may be it clearest manifestation of the cancer.

On the other hand metastatic lung cancer is that which starts in the lungs and then spreads to other parts of the body. Primary lung cancer is most often seen to spread to areas such as the adrenal glands, bones, liver and the brain.

The symptoms of primary or metastatic cancer to the lungs

There are about 25% of lung cancer patients who may display no symptoms of their cancer and the cancer may come to light due to other reasons.

Whereas the symptoms of metastatic lung cancer will manifest in other parts of the body, the most commonly noted symptoms of primary lung cancer are similar to those of metastatic cancer to the lungs-

  • Coughing is one of the principle symptoms. Among smokers, a new kind of cough may be noted. Or the cough could be persistent, and may seem to get worse rather than better.
  • Coughing up blood (small or large amounts) is usually a concern and a symptom which should never be ignored.
  • A dull and persistent ache in the chest is another frequently noted symptom.
  • The presence of the tumor causes blockages in the airways causing wheezing and hoarseness of the voice.
  • There is likely to be shortness of breath often due to pleural effusion (collection of fluid around the lungs).
  • The person may be more than normally susceptible to infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis.
  • Unexplained weight loss, weakness and so on are other symptoms.

Between 30 and 40% of those who have lung cancer will also have metastatic lung cancer and will display symptoms as per the location to where the cancer has spread.

Lung cancer that has spread or metastasized to the liver and the adrenal glands is often without any symptoms. When it is the bones to which the cancer has spread this could result in symptoms such as bone pain in the spinal column bones, thigh bones and the ribs.

Symptoms of brain cancer such as dizziness, sensory problems, memory problems, seizures, paralysis of one side of the body could occur in metastatic lung cancer that has spread to the brain.