As lung cancer progresses, complications can arise. Sometimes they are caused by treatment, or the spread of the cancer to remote areas of the body.

Shortness of Breath (Dyspnea)

The spread of lung cancer can cause blockages in the major airways or the buildup of fluid around the lungs (pleural effusion). This often results in shortness of breath.

Coughing Up Blood

People with lung cancer can experience hemoptysis, or coughing up blood. This is due to bleeding in the airway and can become severe. In these cases, treatment to help control the bleeding is available.


Neuropathy is a disorder that affects the nerves of mainly the hands and feet, causing tingling, numbness, weakness, and pain. It can often be controlled with medication.


Pain can be experienced in the chest area or other parts of the body where lung cancer has spread. This usually occurs in advanced stages of the disease and can be managed with medication and radiation.

Spread of Cancer (Metastasis)

Lung cancer can spread to other parts of the body, such as the brain, liver, bones, and glands, causing significant side effects. Treatments are available to relieve the pain, nausea, and headaches associated with metastasis.


The survival rate of people with lung cancer depends on the stage of the disease. People whose lung cancer is caught in the early stages have a better chance of survival. Unfortunately, since symptoms usually don’t occur until the advanced stages of the disease, lung cancer is often terminal.