Stage 4 lung cancer spreading is called metastatic cancer. The area affected is called the metastases. To identify the spread of cancer to other parts of the body staging of lung cancer is performed, following, the prognosis of the patient is determined as well as treatment of the cancer in lungs n the patient. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) stages are divided from 1 to 4. In Stage I the cancer is found only in the lung and in the early stages with small tumors. In Stages 2 and 3 the cancer is limited to the chest and the tumors are large and more invasive. And, cancer will be spread to the other parts of the body through the bloodstream and the lymphatic system with Stage 4. The brain is the most affected part due to this kind of cancer.
Stage 4 of this cancer can spread to the bones, liver, and adrenal glands apart from being spread to the brain. Normal chest x-rays, CT scans, bone scans, and blood tests are how stage 4 cancer in lungs is diagnosed. Metastases to bone may be revealed during bone scans due to stage 4 lung cancer. During bone scans a radioactive material is injected to the bloodstream so that the metastases absorbs the radioactive material revealing the location of the metastases. This is recorded permanently. The presence of metastases is also revealed in blood tests during stage 4 lung cancer. For example, an increased level of calcium in the blood indicates the presence of metastases in the bone. Metastases in the liver will show a blood test with an increased level of enzymes like aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase. These abnormalities in the blood can be revealed through blood tests, which could be an indication of the spread of the cancer to the bones and the liver.
Stopping the growth of cancerous cells is the first step to any cancer treatment, then to treat them or remove them. Areas like the brain are treated with radiotherapy, by a radiation oncologist, to prevent the spread of cancer to those areas. A physician consultation is needed before radiotherapy of the brain is performed due to the side effects of radiation exposure. Depending on the area to which cancer has spread and if it is confined to the chest wall, diaphragm, and lymph nodes, treatments may also be combined using chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Surgery is also performed to treat some areas during stage 4 lung cancer.
A clinical trial of photodynamic therapy, which is a new treatment, is under way. This treatment is tried for person having small cell cancer in lungs which occurs frequently and causes obstruction in the airway. You may consult your doctor for more experimental therapies of stage 4 lung cancer.