Stage four lung cancer is the final stage of the non-small lung cancer. It is at this stage that cancer is fully metastasized and spreads to other organs in the body. As the cancer metastasizes or spreads, symptoms show up according to the newly affected area. Lung cancer that has spread to the brain will bring symptoms such as vertigo, headache, and seizures. Lung cancer in the liver will cause the liver to enlarge and also cause jaundice. Also, lung cancer spreading to the brain causes pains in the bones, makes the bone to be brittle, and weak. The presence of cancer at the adrenal gland causes changes in the hormone level.
Furthermore, as lung cancer spreads, it saps energy from the body, and it weakens the cells in the body making them unable to fight and defend the body. Stage four non-small cell lung cancer which is the most advanced stage of lung cancer can be categorized into either T or N which implies that the cancer can be of any size and may or may not have spread to the lymph nodes. It can also be categorized into M1A and M1B; in the case of M1A the following conditions about the extent of spread are deduced:
- The cancer has already metastasized to the other lung.
- The cancer cells are located in the fluids surrounding the lungs.
- Cancer cells are in the fluids surrounding the heart.
In the case of M1B, the cancer has moved to the lymph nodes and to other organs in the body such as the bone, liver, brain adrenal gland, kidney etc. Every part of the body where the symptom has spread to, will exhibit symptoms either at that particular organs or organs that are close.
Generally, stage four lung cancer varies depending on the exact location where the cancer has spread to, and also on the size of the primary tumor. Stage four cancer symptoms show up easily unlike stage zero, one, and two which do not easily show up.