Lung Cancer Treatment Options Stage 4
Lung Cancer Treatment Options Stage 4 Stage IV lung cancer is the most advanced stage of the disease. At this stage, the disease has spread or metastasized from the lungs from which it emanates to the other lung, the pericardium (membrane around the heart and lungs), the breast and/or other body regions. Stage IV lung cancer, also known as metastatic lung cancer, can occur in the lymph nodes and several organs, including the kidneys and adrenal glands, but most often spreads to bones, liver and/or brain. Metastatic tumors or metastases are considered secondary tumors and are still considered lung cancer even if they are found in other parts of the body. Stage IV lung cancer, which can also be called extensive stage cancer, spreads through the lymphatic system or bloodstream to other parts of the body.
In many patients, stage IV lung cancer occurs when the disease is first diagnosed. In fact, according to the National Cancer Institute, about 66 percent of patients diagnosed with small cell lung cancer and about 40 percent of patients diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer have stage IV.
At the Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), we offer patients with stage IV lung cancer a range of treatment options, including immunotherapy, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. In some cases, treatments can be palliative to alleviate the symptoms associated with the disease and improve the quality of life. Qualified patients may also be candidates for clinical trials that may offer treatments that are otherwise unavailable.
Read more: Lung Cancer Treatment Options Nuv
Stage IV Lung cancer symptoms
The symptoms of stage IV lung cancer may depend on where the disease has spread in the body. For example:
- If cancer has spread to the bones, it can cause bone pain or broken bones.
- When cancer has spread to the liver, it can cause nausea, fatigue, bloating, jaundice or swelling in the extremities.
- When cancer has spread to the brain, it can cause headaches, visual disturbances, difficulty speaking or seizures.
Other symptoms of stage IV lung cancer include:
- Clumps in the neck or collar way
- Abdominal or back pain
- The weakness
- Loss of appetite
- Numbness or tingling
Types of stage IV lung cancer
Lung Cancer Treatment Options Stage 4 There are two main types of lung cancer: small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. In most cases, stage IV disease is detected in patients who were first diagnosed with one of the two species.
As the name suggests, these types of lung cancer are diagnosed when a pathologist identifies a specific type of diseased cell. Determining the type of lung cancer is a critical first step in understanding treatment options.
Small cell lung cancer
About 10 percent of all lung cancers are small cell lung cancers. This disease is often very aggressive and can spread quickly. There are two main subtypes of small cell lung cancer:
- Small cell carcinoma (oat cell cancer)
- Combined small cell carcinoma
Non-small cell lung cancer
This is the most common type of lung cancer, which accounts for 90 percent of all lung cancer diagnoses. Non-small cell lung cancers can grow more slowly than small cell lung cancers. There are three main types of non-small cell lung cancer:
- Adenocarcinoma of the lungs
- Squamous cell carcinoma lung cancer
- Large cell undifferentiated carcinoma
Substances from stage IV of lung cancer
Stage IV lung cancer can be divided into stage IVA and stage IVB, depending on the spread of the disease.
In the IVA stage of lung cancer, the disease has spread to areas around the lungs and/or a distant organ. Areas around the lungs may include the lymph nodes and/or previously healthy lungs.
In stage IVB lung cancer, the disease has spread in several places in one or more distant organs or bones.
Lung Cancer Treatment Options Stage 4 Advanced small cell lung cancer can also be called small cell lung cancer in the extended stage. At this stage, cancer has spread to other parts of the body such as the other lung, bone and/or bone marrow, brain or fluid around the lungs. In most patients, the initial diagnosis of small cell lung cancer is a long-term disease.
Treatment of stage IV lung cancer
Treatment options for stage IV lung cancer may depend on where and how much cancer has spread. In some cases, treatments can be considered palliative to alleviate side effects and improve quality of life. Treatment options include:
Chemotherapy: Drugs can be administered alone, in combination and/or with other treatments. Chemotherapy may not be an appropriate option for treating lung cancer metastases in the brain.
- Radiotherapy: This treatment can be used to reduce tumors and alleviate disease-related side effects.
- Immunotherapy: Drugs known as checkpoint inhibitors can be used to help the immune system better detect and attack lung cancer cells.
- Surgery: Surgery can be an option to remove tumors from the lungs and chest cavity and remove affected lymph nodes. This treatment may not be an option if cancer has spread to multiple organs, but can be used to remove tumors that cause pain or other side effects.
- Targeted therapy: These drugs target specific receptors or proteins on cancer cells to slow tumor growth.
- Photodynamic therapy: This palliative treatment uses light and light-sensitive agents to reduce tumors in the lungs.
Clinical trials for stage IV lung cancer
Clinical trials are an important testing ground for determining the efficacy and safety of new therapies for many cancers and stages, including stage IV lung cancer. As part of our commitment to provide innovative treatment options for our patients, CTCA physicians® possibly patients with stage IV lung cancer recommend participating in carefully selected clinical trials.
Read more: Lung Cancer Treatment Options and Prognosis
Clinical trials may offer treatment options before they have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and may otherwise be unavailable. Talk to your doctor about whether a clinical trial is a good option for you and inquire about the risks and the different requirements.
Lung Cancer Treatment Options Stage 4
Integrative care for stage IV lung cancer
Stage IV lung cancer and treatments for the disease may also be accompanied by symptoms and side effects that can affect your quality of life. Depending on where the disease has spread, stage IV lung cancer can cause symptoms such as pain, fatigue or difficulty breathing. Similarly, stage IV lung cancer treatments can cause loss of appetite, nausea, neuropathy and/or other side effects. At CTCA, our team of physicians and clinicians works closely with integrative care experts, including nutrition therapists, naturopathic practitioners, physiotherapists, and mind-body therapists, to help you manage side effects and maintain strength and stamina throughout the treatment.