Side Effects of Lung Cancer




The side effects of lung cancer range from mild to serious diseases and medical conditions. The cancer is also called as adenocarcinoma. As the carcinoma progresses, the signs and symptoms of lung cancer become worse. The different treatments for lung cancer such as radiation lead to painful side effects.

Metastatic lung carcinoma leads to the worst kinds of side effects. Ironically, prevention of painful side effects is also one of the reasons for treatment.




What are lung carcinoma side effects? I have seen my Dad suffer most of the following . . .


1. Diseases in the lungs such as . . .


2. Breathing problems like. . .

  • shortness of breath

  • hoarseness

  • pain or heavy feeling in your chest and

  • wheezing

Diseases in your lungs and breathing problems are signs of the carcinoma having spread to nearby areas like the lining of the lungs, inside the wall of your chest and the airways. Persistent cough and hoarseness are common side effects.


3. Fever and nightsweats

Persistent fever is a sign that the carcinoma is advanced. It is one of the side effects of both treatment and metastasis.


4. Respiratory complications such as. . .

  • emphysema

  • chronic pneumonia

  • pneumothorax - collapse of your lungs

  • bronchorrhea - increase in amount of sputum in your lungs and

  • hemoptysis - presence of blood in your sputum

My Dad died due to respiratory failure resulting from these complications.


5. Fluid complications such as. . .

  • ascites - presence of fluid in your abdomen

  • pleural effusion - fluid around your lungs and

  • pericardial effusion - fluid around the heart.

Presence of fluid with cancerous cells is one of the side effects of lung carcinoma. It absolutely means the carcinoma is already in an advanced stage.

If you would like more info on the different stages, see Lung Cancer Stages.


6. Gastrointestinal effects

Surprising side effects of lung cancer are abnormal changes in your bowels such as constipation and diarrhea. This indicates advanced carcinoma that has already moved to your liver.


7. Alopecia

Alopecia is more commonly known as hair loss. It is a result of anxiety or stress coming from being diagnosed with carcinoma of the lungs. It is also a side effect of either radiation or chemo treatments.

My Dad had radiation and all his hair fell off. It never grew back until the day he died.


8. Cognitive dysfunction such as. . .

  • forgetfulness or memory loss

  • easily and frequently distracted

  • difficulty in doing different and many tasks

  • problem with math and language skills.

As the carcinoma grows, it invades the brain affecting its functions.


9. Eye changes that are either. . .

  • mild - dry eyes, blurred vision or

  • serious - retinal damage, glaucoma, cataracts.


10. Arthalgias

An advanced carcinoma also invades the tissues in your bones causing pain in your joints called arthalgia.


11. Myalgias - You will feel muscle pain accompanied by malaise or weakness indicating the carcinoma has already spread to the adrenal glands which produce hormones. When cancerous cells have overrun the adrenal glands, they may not be able to make enough hormones causing fatigue.


12. Hematologic or blood side effects such as. . .

  • anemia - low red blood cell or RBC count

  • neutropenia - low white blood cell or WBC count

  • thrombocytopenia - low platelets

These lung carcinoma side effects are worse with radiation treatment and can lead to a secondary carcinoma. Leukemia is one carcinoma that is a side effect of radiation therapy. It usually develops among lung carcinoma patients undergoing such type of treatment.

For more info on leukemia, see Facts About Leukemia.


13. Psychological side effects such as. . .

  • anxiety - This is a normal reaction to a diagnosis of any type of cancer.

  • depression - This is very common among lung cancer patients according to a study published in the Journal of Oncology.


14. Spinal cord compression


15. Vocal cord paralysis


16. Nutritional problems

You will likely undergo anorexia that is related to your carcinoma. Weight loss is also one of the side effects of lung cancer that has advanced to your adrenal glands.




Related Information


What Causes Lung Carcinoma

How to Prevent Lung Carcinoma and Other Health Effects of Cigarettes Smoking

Benefits of Giving Up Smoking

Return from Side Effects of Lung Cancer to Information on Lung Cancer

Return from Side Effects of Lung Cancer to Prevention Home


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