Usually, cancer affects just one part of the body. However, in the case of metastatic cancer, the cancer cells leave the primary site area and travel through the bloodstream or the lymph system to other parts of the body. The cancerous cells metastasize, spread to other body parts and form metastatic tumors. Metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer or NSCLC is one of the well-known cancers of this type.
Metastatic NSCLC is a life-threatening condition. It commonly results from the following forms of cancer: kidney cancer, breast cancer, bladder cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, sarcoma and so on. Since the symptoms of metastatic NSCLC do not develop immediately, it becomes difficult to diagnose and provide metastatic NSCLC treatments immediately. Also, it is quite difficult to identify the symptoms since they are somewhat similar to other health conditions. Some of the common metastatic NSCLC symptoms include the following:
- Sudden weight loss
- Constant feeling of fatigue and weakness
- Chest pain and blood in phlegm and cough
- Shortness of breath and wheezing
Metastatic NSCLC treatments can be started once this cancer is detected and diagnosed. A doctor would suggest the following tests to diagnose metastatic NSCLC:
- Chest X-ray with detailed images of the lungs
- Ct scan with detailed cross-sectional images of the lungs
- Lung needle biopsy through which a doctor can examine a small sample of tissues from the lungs
- Bronchoscopy through which a doctor can have a visualization of the entire respiratory system
Once diagnosed, doctors may suggest the following metastatic NSCLC treatments:
- Radiation therapy: This is one of the commonly implemented metastatic NSCLC treatments. Radiation therapy can be done at any stage of metastatic NSCLC. In the later stages of this cancer, radiation therapy is usually used in combination with chemotherapy to reduce the size of the metastatic tumors before going in for surgery.
- Chemotherapy: This metastatic NSCLC treatment uses drugs to kill the cancerous cells. Chemotherapy stops cancerous cells from growing and dividing further. A specific set of cycles make up a chemotherapy schedule or regimen during which drugs are injected into the bloodstream to kill off the cancer cells.
- Targeted therapy: This form of metastatic NSCLC treatment uses drugs that target particular proteins, genes, or tissues that are responsible for the growth and survival of cancerous cells. Using drugs, targeted therapy destroys cancer cells without damaging healthy tissues. The use of this metastatic NSCLC therapy is precluded by multiple tests that identify the genes, proteins, and tissues affected by the tumor.
- Immunotherapy: This is one of the metastatic NSCLC treatments that work towards strengthening the body’s immune system to fight cancer. By using substances naturally produced by the body or through the use of drugs, this method of metastatic NSCLC treatment improves and restores the body’s defense system to destroy cancer cells.