Advanced Lung Cancer

Patients with Stage 4 lung cancer have lung cancer that has spread to distant sites.   Lung cancer can spread to almost any organ of the body, but most often it will spread to the adrenal glands, liver, bones, or brain. It can also spread to the other lung.

The following is an overview for the treatment of metastatic lung cancer. The information on this web-ste is intended to help educate you about your treatment options and to create discussion to help in the decision-making process with your treatment team. 

(It’s still called lung cancer, even though it’s moved somewhere else.) 

Sometimes Stage 4 lung cancer is discovered because of symptoms.  The following lung cancer symptoms may accompany any stage of lung cancer, although they are more likely to show up as cancer progresses:

  • Persistent, worsening cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • Blood in spit
  • Chest pain that may be worse by deep breaths, coughing, laughing
  • Hoarse voice
  • Poor appetite
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Wheezing
  • Frequent bronchitis or pneumonia


Your cancer will ultimately influence the treatments that are right for your situation.  

Treatment may also include surgery, radiation, targeted therapy, or a combination of these treatment techniques. Multidisciplinary treatment, which uses two or more treatment types, is important for every cancer patient and will help in creating a care plan and goals for improving a chance of cure or prolonging survival. In some cases, participation in a clinical trial may provide additional options.