One of the biggest issues that are being faced by lung cancer patients is that the cancer may spread to other parts of the body. The term used when cancer spreads to other parts is called metastasis and occurs in about 40% of newly diagnosed patients. On diagnosis of lung cancer, doctor performs various tests to detect whether metastasis has occurred or not. The spread may occur to any part of the body and the most common among them is lymph nodes.
With spread of lung cancer, the cancer cells break off and travel through bloodstream. Lung cancer generally invades nearby tissues and spread to lymph nodes via one of the three ways. There’s lymphatic system which consists of lymph fluid, lymphatic vessels and lymphatic organs. Then, there’s bronchial tree system which involves the airways of lungs via which lung cancer spreads. The circulatory system involves blood and blood vessels. The cancer cells are carried to lymph nodes and they often work as firewalls for cancer.
Generally, spread of lung cancer to lymph nodes occurs in stage II or stage III. The regional lymph nodes are divided into groups called intrapulmonary lymph nodes, mediastinal lymph nodes and extrathoracic lymph nodes. The lymph nodes that are situated in the area between chest wall and lungs are called mediastinal lymph nodes. The ones that are within the lungs are called intrapulmonary lymph modes. Last but not the least, extrathoracic lymph nodes are occurred outside of the chest.
It is essential to determine which lymph nodes in your body are affected by lung cancer. This helps the doctor in selecting the best treatment options available for the patient. The treatment depends upon the stage of cancer and the general health.
The information shared in this blog is for educational purposes only. Please consult your healthcare professional for any medical advice.