metastatic Non small cell lung cancer

Metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for 85% of all cases. Metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (mNSCLC) is a form of the disease that has spread to other parts of the body, such as the brain, liver, or bones. Treatments are available, though it’s considered incurable and may only be managed or slowed.

Symptoms of mNSCLC

Symptoms of mNSCLC can vary widely depending on where it has spread in the body, but the most common ones are:

  • Cough and/or shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Headaches and confusion
  • Swollen lymph nodes

It’s important to note that mNSCLC doesn’t always cause symptoms and can even go undetected until it has already metastasized. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to speak to your doctor as soon as possible.

Diagnosing mNSCLC

Diagnosis of mNSCLC typically starts with a physical examination by your doctor to feel for any lumps or abnormalities in the chest. Your doctor may order additional tests to confirm the diagnosis, such as:

  • Chest X-ray
  • CT scan
  • PET or SPECT scan
  • MRI
  • Bone scan
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Endobronchial ultrasound
  • Biopsy

These tests can help determine if the cancer has spread beyond the lungs and to which organs. Your doctor may also order tests to check for genetic markers that can help inform the best course of treatment for you.

Treatment for mNSCLC

Treatment for mNSCLC will depend on several factors, such as the extent of the cancer, where it has spread, and the person’s health and preferences. Treatment options include:

  • Surgery, to remove as much of the tumor as possible
  • Radiation therapy, to kill cancer cells
  • Chemotherapy, to slow or halt the growth of cancer cells
  • Targeted therapies, to specifically target cancer cells

Clinical trials are also an option for some people, and may offer access to the most advanced treatments available.

Living with mNSCLC

Living with mNSCLC is a long-term challenge, and managing the disease can take a physical and emotional toll. It’s important to stay in contact with your doctor and make sure to discuss your concerns or any changes in your symptoms. Support groups can be helpful for many people, and there are many resources available online.