Lung cancer

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If lung cancer spreads

Cancer cells can spread from the lung to other parts of the body. This spread is called metastasis.

Understanding how a type of cancer usually grows and spreads helps your healthcare team plan your treatment and future care. If lung cancer spreads, it can spread to the following:

diaphragm

The thin muscle below the lungs and heart that separates the chest cavity from the abdomen.

When the diaphragm contracts, the lungs expand and take in air. When it relaxes, the lungs deflate and push air out.

esophagus

The muscular tube in the neck and chest through which food passes from the pharynx (throat) to the stomach.

Esophageal means referring to or having to do with the esophagus, as in esophageal cancer.

Also called the gullet.

adrenal gland

A small gland on top of each kidney that produces a variety of hormones involved in different body functions, including metabolism (the chemical processes needed for cell function, growth and reproduction), heart rate, blood pressure and controlling blood sugar levels.

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Great progress has been made

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Some cancers, such as thyroid and testicular, have survival rates of over 90%. Other cancers, such as pancreatic, brain and esophageal, continue to have very low survival rates.

Learn more