Treatment of pulmonary metastasis

The appearance of a pulmonary metastasis is possible in any type of primary cancer, although it occurs more frequently in cancers of the breast, colon, prostate, bladder, kidney, melanoma, sarcomas, etc. Like all metastases, they occur when cancer cells migrate through the blood or lymphatic system.

Although in most cases this is not the case, on a few occasions, the diagnosis of cancer occurs in the face of symptoms caused by the existence of a pulmonary metastasis:  

  • Cough.
  • Expectoration with the presence of blood.
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Weak state.
  • Unjustified weight loss.

Treatment of pulmonary metastasis

Traditionally it has been considered that a cancer with distant metastasis is only a subsidiary of a treatment with chemotherapy and / or radiotherapy. However, in recent decades the criteria have changed and in the case of pulmonary metastasis there are clinical circumstances under which the possibility of opting for surgery to proceed with its complete excision can be assessed:

  • If the primary tumor is considered curable and has already been surgically removed.
  • If it is the only existing metastasis.
  • If the metastasis affects a well defined area of ​​the lung.

The data currently available in relation to cancer patients who present with pulmonary metastases determine that only a small part of them is the only one existing. Of course, the general condition of the patient will also have to be taken into account and if this will allow him to support the surgical intervention and face the recovery process, since the quality of life must always be a determining factor at the time to decide on the treatment to follow.

The truth is that surgery to eliminate this type of metastasis is a therapeutic option that is performed only in selected patients and is a good prognostic factor, since it is characterized by low mortality and an increased survival time.

It should be noted, however, that in general cancers with pulmonary metastases have very little chance of cure, although this is a point that depends largely on the location and type of primary cancer. In some types of lymphomas, for example, healing can be achieved even if it has spread to the lung.

On the other hand, it should be noted that currently other experimental treatments for the elimination of pulmonary metastases are beginning to be applied, such as the use of heat probes, laser therapy or the application of radiotherapy.


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