Advanced lung cancer

Advanced lung cancer is cancer that has spread outside the lung and to other parts of the body. It can often be treated to control the cancer, slow down its spread, and manage any symptoms. 

Cancer that has metastasised keeps the name of the original, primary cancer, so the cancer will still be called lung cancer even if it has spread to the bones, for example. Because the symptoms of lung cancer are often vague in its early stages, some people find that the cancer is advanced when it is first diagnosed. In other cases, the lung cancer is advanced when it comes back after treatment (recurrence).

You may have the same treatments used for treating early lung cancer, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy, or targeted therapy and immunotherapy. Some of these treatments may be part of palliative treatment.

Specific treatments to manage symptoms that make breathing difficult are covered in After treatment.

For more on advanced cancer, see Advanced Cancer, download a booklet from this page, or call Cancer Council 13 11 20.

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This information was last reviewed in November 2016.
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