Metastatic cancer to the lungs is the spread of cancer from another region of the body to the lungs. The place where cancer begins is called the primary cancer. For example, if breast cancer spreads to the lungs, it would be called breast cancer with metastasis (spread) to the lungs. In this case, breast cancer would be considered the “primary” cancer.
For information on metastatic lung cancer (cancer that begins in the lungs and spreads to another region of the body), see Stage 4 (Metastatic) Lung Cancer
Cancers That May Spread to the LungsMost cancers can spread to the lungs. The most common types include:
SymptomsSymptoms of cancer metastatic to the lungs are similar to symptoms of primary lung cancer and can include:
- A persistent cough
- Coughing up blood (hemoptysis)
- Pain in the chest, shoulder, and back
- Shortness of breath
TreatmentTreatment for cancer metastatic to the lungs is usually determined by the primary cancer, or origin of the cancer. Chemotherapy is often the treatment of choice, and is given as palliative therapy – therapy to prolong survival and decrease symptoms. In rare instances, particularly with testicular cancer metastatic to the lungs, chemotherapy may be curative. Surgical treatment of cancer metastatic to the lungs may also rarely be curative.
National Institute of Health. Medline Plus: Metastatic cancer to the lungs. Updated 06/02/10. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000097.htm