Lung cancer can cause complications, such as:

  • Shortness of breath. People with lung cancer can experience shortness of breath if cancer grows to block the major airways. Lung cancer can also cause fluid to accumulate around the lungs, making it harder for the affected lung to expand fully when you inhale.
  • Coughing up blood. Lung cancer can cause bleeding in the airway, which can cause you to cough up blood (hemoptysis). Sometimes bleeding can become severe. Treatments are available to control bleeding.
  • Pain. Advanced lung cancer that spreads to the lining of a lung or to another area of the body, such as a bone, can cause pain.

    Tell your doctor if you experience pain. Pain may initially be mild and intermittent, but can become constant. Medications, radiation therapy and other treatments may help make you more comfortable.

  • Fluid in the chest (pleural effusion). Lung cancer can cause fluid to accumulate in the space that surrounds the affected lung in the chest cavity (pleural space).

    Fluid accumulating in the chest can cause shortness of breath. Treatments are available to drain the fluid from your chest and reduce the risk that pleural effusion will occur again.

  • Cancer that spreads to other parts of the body (metastasis). Lung cancer often spreads (metastasizes) to other parts of the body, such as the brain and the bones.

    Cancer that spreads can cause pain, nausea, headaches, or other signs and symptoms depending on what organ is affected. Once lung cancer has spread to other organs, it's generally not curable. Treatments are available to decrease signs and symptoms and to help you live longer.

Mar. 19, 2014