By Dr. Veda Padma Priya, Oncology,
Lung cancer is a difficult disease to live with and its treatment can take a toll on a person’s emotional well-being and finances as well. Apart from these issues, there can be some major complications as the disease progresses. As a patient suffering from this condition, you should be aware of the intricacies related to the same.
- Lung damage: The airways in the lungs may get blocked due to the cancer, as a result of which fluids start to build up. Due to this, drawing breath may be difficult and respiration becomes an issue. Furthermore, lung cancer patients may also develop pneumonia as a result of the fluid retention. Patients suffering from such a condition need to seek treatment at the earliest, as leaving it untreated may be fatal.
- Neuropathy: In some cases, lung cancer can suppress the nerves near the shoulders and neck. This can cause pain and difficulty while moving the arms. Cancer treatment may also be a cause for the neuropathy in some cases. If you experience such an issue, visit the doctor and he/she will prescribe medication for the same. In rare cases, the lung cancer may even lead to Horner’s syndrome. With Horner’s syndrome, the patient has a droopy eyelid on one side of the face, while the other side remains normal.
- Pain: Patients may experience pain in the chest and ribs when the lung cancer progresses. The only way to avoid this pain is to seek treatment for the cancer as soon as possible. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy can reduce the pain, along with the size of the tumour itself.
- Heart issues: Lung cancer may adversely affect the functioning of the heart. If the tumour in question grows near a major vein or artery, it can block the normal blood flow. This leads to swelling of certain portions of the upper body, such as the neck, chest and face. With the swelling, such a condition can also give rise to fatigue, dizziness, headaches and vision problems.
- Metastasis: Metastasis is spreading of cancer cell from its place of origin. In case of lung cancer, the cells may spread to various parts of the body, such as the liver, bones, brain and glands. Depending on where the cancer has metastasized, the effects of such an occurrence can be dire for the patient. The best way to prevent metastasis is to seek treatment for the cancer at its initial stages, so that the cancer does not get an opportunity to spread.