How does lung cancer kill?
My father in law had a lung lobe removed for cancer. Now It has metasticized. He has ascites, edema, kidney failure and dehydration. I don't understand how lung cancer is causing these symptoms. Can someone with medical knowledge explain the connections?
- Gary BLv 71 decade agoFavorite Answer
The term "metastasized" means that tiny pieces of cancer (maybe even just one cell) have broken off and gone into other parts of his body. (His surgery was too late.) It just so happens that one piece lodged in his kidneys.
"Cancer" is defined as uncontrolled growth of a tissue. So, now your father in law has a piece of LUNG CANCER growing in his kidney -- a tumor! it doesn't belong there, and it is "crowding out" the kidney functions. His failing kidneys are causing the edema and dehydration. Soon, he will be on dialysis. With metastasized lung cancer, a kidney transplant is not an option.
Metastasizing is the WORST possible stage of cancer, just short of death. He probably has THOUSANDS of lung cancer cells all over his body. When his kidneys fail, they will put him, on dialysis. But then a lung cancer piece might grow in his brain, or in his intestines, or his liver, or his big toe. At this point he is "invaded", and there is very little hope for any kind of cure.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
When it is said that cancer has metastasized, that means that it has moved into other organs and is now attacking them. As a result, these other organs will begin to fail. It sounds as if he has it in the kidneys now, which would account for the kidney failure, edema, and dehydration. Many symptoms can also be side effects of chemotherapy or radiation.
Without more information, its very hard to speak on his individual case. If you have more questions, there must be a family member who can ask his doctor these questions. If they don't mind, you can ask him yourself. The best thing to do is to keep a notebook of what the doctor tells you, as its hard to keep it all straight when someone has such a complex illness.
Best wishes to your family at this difficult time.
- Land-sharkLv 71 decade ago
I'm so sorry to read that he is so ill. You know, it's a kind of taboo really to discuss this with the victim lest it may cause them to lose hope and their family to become too distressed.
What aggressive cancer does is destroy good tissue wherever it travels to and takes root - metastasizes - and compromises the natural flow of blood and the drainage of the lymphatic system so that fluid drains into the body cavity. These uncontrolled growths can impose pressure on surrounding tissues, they can also become necrotic. So it was bad enough when it was only resident in the lungs but now it is causing organ failure in other places the prognosis has become grim.
We can only hope that one day these uncontrolled growths of undifferentiated cells can be stopped in their tracks and caused to shrink. One current thought is that a high fever may enable the body to detect and destyroy metastacizing cells.