When someone has stage 4 lung cancer, signs of this serious disease include difficulty breathing, constant coughing, pain and discomfort, and extreme fatigue. These symptoms often result in a significant change in your day-to-day activities and quality of life.
Defining Stage 4 Lung Cancer
When you receive a lung cancer diagnosis, doctors and medical researchers place a stage number on your level of cancer. These numbers can range from stage 0 to stage 4, where stage 4 is the most serious form of cancer. Stage 0 is extremely rare, and some doctors do not use it, starting with stage 1 instead.
The Stages of Lung Cancer
The stages of lung cancer include:
- Stage 0: Tumors are extremely small and exist only in the lungs.
- Stage 1: Tumors are average size in the lungs with no spreading elsewhere in the body.
- Stage 2: Tumors are both in the lungs and lymph nodes or blood.
- Stage 3: Tumors have spread from the lungs to other tissues in the chest, as well as in the lymph nodes or the blood.
- Stage 4: Tumors have spread throughout the body into other organs, such as the brain or liver.
Further Defining Stage 4 Cancer
Sometimes, a doctor will split the stage 4 lung cancer designation into two parts, 4A and 4B. According to Cancer Research UK, some of the signs of these designations include:
- Stage 4A: Cancer appears in the lungs and another part of the body.
- Stage 4B: Cancer appears in the lungs and in multiple other areas around the body, including in multiple organs.
Both kinds of stage 4 lung cancer are extremely serious conditions with symptoms that can severely impact your life.
Symptoms of Stage 4 Lung Cancer
With stage 4 lung cancer, tumors exist in the lungs and elsewhere in the body.
Symptoms of the tumors in the lungs in stage 4 lung cancer include:
- Persistent coughing.
- Changes in a persistent cough.
- Coughing up blood.
- Inability to take a deep breath.
- Shortness of breath.
- Pain throughout the upper body.
- Pneumonia or bronchitis that will not clear up, even with medication.
Symptoms for the tumors elsewhere in the body may include:
- Pain in the bones.
- Difficulty swallowing.
- Changes in vision.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Loss of appetite.
- General fatigue and weakness.
A diagnosis of stage 4 lung cancer requires that the tumors have spread to multiple parts of the body, which means operating is no longer a treatment option, according to the Mayo Clinic. Surgery cannot remove all the tumors at this point in the disease’s progression.
However, doctors may suggest treatments like chemotherapy or immunotherapy. It is up to the person who has been diagnosed whether to undergo this type of treatment, which may or may not work to shrink the tumors, prolong life at this late stage of the disease, and help with the symptoms of stage 4 lung cancer.
Aggressive treatments may result in a loss of quality of life in the amount of time doctors anticipate the person will live, so some people choose to halt treatment rather than pursue the options that are available.
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If you have received a diagnosis of stage 4 cancer, your life may change in many different ways, including:
- Emotional changes: You may feel depression, deep sadness, or feelings of regret, for which you may want to seek help from a therapist or a support group.
- Physical weakness: You may no longer have the strength or energy to perform everyday tasks you have done for years, which can be frustrating.
- Lack of energy: You may have a lack of appetite and a reduced energy level, leaving you wanting more sleep than usual.
- Choosing treatment options: You can decide whether you would like to treat stage 4 lung cancer, submit to a clinical trial, or stop treatment.
- Relationship changes: Some of your friends or family members may treat you differently or may be unable to come to terms with a terminal diagnosis.
With a stage 4 diagnosis, some doctors may suggest the ill person enters palliative care or hospice care. This type of care may serve the person’s needs better than hospitalization.
We Will Fight for Your Rights
Stage 4 is the most severe and aggressive form of lung cancer, leading to symptoms that may negatively affect your day-to-day quality of life in the time you have remaining.
If someone else’s negligence led to your lung cancer diagnosis—such as by exposing you to asbestos, radon gas, or other carcinogens—you may be eligible to receive compensation and awards for your medical costs, pain, and suffering.
The team at the Pintas & Mullins Law Firm is ready to help you to file a lawsuit and hold the party that caused your lung cancer exposure responsible for its actions. We focus closely on the personal needs of all of our clients and study the facts in each case. Contact us today at (800) 794-0444 for a free consultation. We work on a contingency-fee-basis.