Stage IV lung cancer is the condition where cancer cells have already spread to other parts of the body. Just like other types of cancer, it is the worst condition of lung cancer. There are many effects of lung cancer. For instance, an infection in lungs such as pneumonia and bronchitis which often reappear, voice change because of vocal accord inflammation or nerve issues, numb hands or legs, and many more. There are several stages before lung cancer gets into the fourth stage.
Stages of Lung Cancer
- Stage I
In this stage, cancer is still located in the lungs and does not spread yet to the glands or organs around it.
- Stage II
In the second stage, cancer is still in the lungs but already spread to the surrounding lymph glands.
- Stage III
Cancer has been spread to lymph glands which are located far away from the lungs or other body parts. Such as the throat, trachea, or main blood vessel in the heart.
- Stage IV
Stage IV lung cancer is marked by the spreading of cancer to both of the lungs and other organs that are located far away from the lungs, such as the liver or brain. Cancer also already causes liquid accumulation in the pleura.
How to Diagnose Lung Cancer
If a patient comes with expected symptoms of lung cancer, then the doctor will do a physical examination to the patient, especially in the respiratory tract. The examination is performed by hearing the patients’ breath with a stethoscope. Further, the doctor will also do some additional examinations, such as:
- Chest X-ray to see the location of abnormalities and tumor conditions in the lungs.
- CT Scan or MRI to find out the size and location of tumor in detail as well as figure out the condition of other tissues around the lungs.
- Lung tissue biopsy. It is a sample taking of lung tissues in order to know the type of cancer.
According to the results of those examinations above, added by PET Scan examination if necessary, the doctor will be able to know the type and stage of lung cancer. Further, the doctor will be able to determine the right and proper medications for the patients. The doctor will also perform other examinations to know the causes, such as pleural punctuation and blood test. Those are the steps to diagnose stage IV lung cancer.