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Can Breast Cancer Cause Fluid In The Lungs

Small Cell Lung Cancer

Is fluid in the chest a symptom of lung cancer? – Elwyn Cabebe, MD – Oncology

Small cell lung cancer is called this because when the cancer cells are looked at under a microscope they are very small. Its sometimes called oat cell cancer. Small cell lung cancer is usually caused by smoking, and its rare for someone who has never smoked to develop this type of lung cancer. Small cell lung cancer is often fast-growing and can spread quickly.

Svcs In Children May Be Diagnosed And Treated Before A Diagnosis Of Cancer Is Made

A physical exam, chest x-ray, and medical history are usually all that are needed to diagnosesuperior vena cava syndrome in children. Even if doctors think cancer is causing SVCS, a biopsy may not be done. This is because the lungs and heart of a child with SVCS may not be able to handle the anesthesia needed. Other imaging tests may be done to help find out if anesthesia can be safely used. In most cases, treatment for SVCS will begin before a diagnosis of cancer is made.

What Is Pleural Effusion

Pleural effusion, sometimes referred to as water on the lungs, is the build-up of excess fluid between the layers of the pleura outside the lungs. The pleura are thin membranes that line the lungs and the inside of the chest cavity and act to lubricate and facilitate breathing. Normally, a small amount of fluid is present in the pleura.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Pleural Effusion

Some patients with pleural effusion have no symptoms, with the condition discovered on a chest x-ray that is performed for another reason. The patient may have unrelated symptoms due to the disease or condition that has caused the effusion.Symptoms of pleural effusion include:

Quality Of Life And End

Fluid in the Chest (Pleural Effusion)

MPE has a significant impact on the patientâs quality of life as it is often common in the last 4-6 months of life . A patientâs physical condition with MPE helps predict how well they will do and their survival after MPE treatment. In patients who underwent a thorascopic pleurodesis for the management of MPE, the patients who had the best performance status were the ones that had better post-operative survival . In this study, the patients who were able to perform self care lived 395 days and the patients who required hospitalization only survived 34 days . Management of dyspnea at this point is paramount and nurses play a major role in symptom management. Besides morphine, oxygen therapy is useful along with a fan which helps reduce the feeling of breathlessness. Positioning the patient for maximal lung expansion by sitting them up in bed and teaching them how to use the diaphragm for maximal lung expansion is helpful. Pursed lip breathing helps reduce the feeling of breathlessness and controls the respiratory rate. When activity is required, the patient needs to be taught how to pace himself to not become short of breath. Referral to hospice and social work is appropriate to maximize the quality of the patientâs remaining life span.

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Potential Problems Resulting From Stage 4 Breast Cancer

Advanced breast cancer involves metastases, which is the spread of cancer to other parts of the body. The effects vary, depending on the areas of the body that cancer has spread to, and may include problems such as blood clots, muscle wasting, shortness of breath, seizures, and more.

Most of the complications of advanced breast cancer are treatable, and treatments are most effective when they are started sooner rather than later. In some cases, recognizing a complication early can prevent serious problems, such as paralysis or even death.

Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin

Metastatic breast cancer can cause certain complications regardless of the location of the metastases.

Fluid In The Lungs Can Be A Really Severe Condition So It’s Vital To Find Out Its Causes Symptoms And Treatments To Prevent Or Heal This Condition

The lungs are located within the chest, just under the rib cage. They are critical for breathing in oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide. Compared to other organs in the chest, the lungs are considered relatively large. They are located on either side of the heart in two cavities. Although at first glance the two cavities look identical, the right cavity is made up of three lobes and the left cavity is made up of two lobes. Each of the lobes is composed of clusters of alveoli or air sacs, which is where the gases are exchanged and then oxygen is taken up by the bloodstream for transport throughout the body.

The process of breathing is continuous provided if the alveoli are intact and functioning normally. However, the accumulation of fluid in the lungs, also called pulmonary edema, compromises the lung’s ability to uptake oxygen and to expel carbon dioxide. Pulmonary edema is a medical condition that is characterized by the abnormal accumulation of fluid in the lungs, inflammation of the lungs, and difficulty breathing. This article will explore the symptoms, causes and treatment strategies for pulmonary edema.

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Formation Of Mpe: General Aspects

Pleural fluid accumulates when its production overwhelms removal. The reason why some tumours cause effusions while others do not is unclear. Post mortem studies demonstrate that mediastinal lymph node invasion, but not the extent of pleural involvement, predicts the presence of an effusion . In addition, it has long been believed that pleural fluid clearance occurs through the lymphatics that originate from the stomata of the parietal pleura and drains through the mediastinal nodes. Based on the above, it was initially assumed that impaired pleural fluid drainage, secondary to tumour invasion of the drainage system, is the primary mechanism of MPE formation. However, this notion was challenged by the following: 1) the rate of MPE accumulation is commonly higher than that expected if it is merely due to clearance of the fluid occurring secondary to lymphatic blockage 2) in the majority of MPE, the protein content is higher than that in normal pleural fluid, suggesting the presence of plasma leakage and 3) MPE occurs even in patients without parietal pleura involvement. It is therefore currently believed that a combination of increased fluid production due to fluid extravasation from hyper-permeable parietal or visceral pleural and/or tumour vessels and impaired lymphatic outflow underlie the development of MPE .

Ways To Prevent Or Lessen Edema

Introduction to Malignant Pleural Effusions

Steps you can take to prevent or lessen edema-related swelling include:

  • Get comfortable. Wear loose clothing and shoes that are not too tight. When you sit or lie down, raise your feet with a stool or pillows. Avoid crossing your legs when you sit. Talk with your health care team about wearing special stockings, sleeves, or gloves that help with circulation if your swelling is severe.
  • Exercise. Moving the part of your body with edema can help. Your doctor may give you specific exercises, including walking, to improve circulation. However, you may be advised not to stand or walk too much at one time.
  • Limit salt in your diet. Avoid foods such as chips, bacon, ham, and canned soup. Check food labels for the sodium content. Dont add salt or soy sauce to your food.
  • Take your medicine. If your doctor prescribes a medicine called a diuretic, take it exactly as instructed. The medicine will help move the extra fluid and salt out of your body.

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Pleural Effusion May Be Caused By Cancer Cancer Treatment Or Other Conditions

A pleural effusion may be malignant or nonmalignant . Malignant pleural effusion is a common problem for patients who have certain cancers. Lung cancer, breast cancer, lymphoma, and leukemia cause most malignant effusions.

Pleural effusion also may be caused by radiation therapy, chemotherapy, a collapsed lung, or cancer that has spread to lymph nodes. Some cancer patients have conditions such as congestive heart failure, pneumonia, blood clot in the lung, or poor nutrition that may lead to a pleural effusion.

Risks Of Pleural Effusion Treatment

Treatment for some cases of pleural effusion may be managed with medication and other supportive care. Most people recover within a few days or weeks. Minor complications from more invasive treatments can include slight pain and discomfort, which often go away with time. Some cases of pleural effusion can have more serious complications, depending on the severity of the condition, cause, and treatment used.

Serious complications can include:

  • pulmonary edema or fluid in the lungs, which can result from draining fluid too quickly during thoracentesis
  • partial collapsed lung
  • infection or bleeding

These complications, while serious, are very rare. Your doctor will help determine the most effective treatment option and discuss the benefits and risks of each procedure.

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Treatment May Be To Control Signs And Symptoms Of Pleural Effusion And Improve Quality Of Life

A malignant pleural effusion often occurs in cancer that is advanced, cannot be removed by surgery, or continues to grow or spread during treatment. It is also common during the last few weeks of life. The goal of treatment is usually palliative, to relieve signs and symptoms and improve quality of life.

Treatment of the signs and symptoms of malignant pleural effusion includes the following:

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What Are The Symptoms Of Metastatic Breast Cancer In The Lungs

If your breast cancer has metastasized to your lungs, you may not notice any symptoms right away. Your first symptoms are likely to feel a little like cold or flu symptoms. They might include persistent cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, wheezing, or fatigue. You could also experience pain in your lungs, coughing up blood, loss of appetite, weight loss, or recurrent chest infections.

What Causes Metastasis To The Lungs

Metastasis to the lung, also known as secondary breast cancer in the lung, is caused in the same manner as other metastases. Tumor cells grow and divide at a rapid rate, and some of those cells break off from the primary tumor and enter the bloodstream. From there, they can travel to other areas of the body, including the lungs.

During this time, the rogue cells will undergo a variety of changes to make them more resistant to the immune system and allow them to survive in the lungs. They may even lie dormant during treatment, not growing but also not dying, until they have the right environment to begin multiplying again.

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What Caregivers Can Do

  • Watch for any new symptoms, especially shortness of breath or swelling in the face.
  • Encourage the patient to keep the swollen body part propped up as high as is comfortable when sitting or lying down.
  • Learn to read food labels and talk with the cancer care team about how to keep intake of sodium down.
  • Dont add salt, soy sauce, or monosodium glutamate when cooking or preparing food.
  • Weigh the patient every 1 to 2 days on the same scale, at the same time of day. Keep a list of weights and dates.

Treatment Of Lung Metastases

Kangen Water Breast Cancer Testimonial

Treatment for lung metastases is usually based on the main type of cancer the person has. Treatment may include chemotherapy, immunotherapy or radiation therapy, or a combination of these.

Surgery may be an option if there are a small number of lung metastases and there are no metastases in other parts of the body. Also, surgery would only be used if the main cancer is under control.

Controlling symptoms is important, especially if treatment for the main cancer is not effective or may take a while to help. Shortness of breath can be one of the hardest feelings to deal with. Morphine-like medicines can be used to help decrease the feeling of shortness of breath. Anti-anxiety medicines may be helpful if the morphine-like medicines dont work.

Having trouble breathing can make you feel anxious, worried, and even like you are in a panic. Some patients find the steps below helpful.

  • Distraction
  • A fan blowing cool air on you

Pain can also be hard to deal with, especially if you have other symptoms. Talk to your healthcare team about how you can use medicines and supportive methods to treat your pain.

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How Secondary Lung Cancer Is Diagnosed

A number of tests may be done to diagnose a secondary lung cancer, including:

Chest x-ray

This may be taken to show the size and position of the cancer.

CT scan

A CT scan takes a series of x-rays that build up a three-dimensional picture of the inside of the body. The scan is painless and takes 10-15 minutes. CT scans use a small amount of radiation, which would be very unlikely to harm you or anyone you come into contact with. Youll be asked to not eat or drink for at least four hours before the scan.

You may be given a drink or injection of a dye, which allows particular areas to be seen more clearly. This may make you feel hot all over for a few minutes. Its important to let your doctor know if youre allergic to iodine or have asthma, because you could have a more serious reaction to the injection.

PET scan

This uses low-dose radioactive sugar to measure the activity of cells in different parts of the body. A very small amount of a mildly radioactive substance is injected into a vein, usually in your arm. A scan is taken a couple of hours later. Areas of cancer are usually more active than surrounding tissue and show up on the scan.


Secondary lung cancer may also cause fluid to collect in the space between the two membranes that surround the lungs. This is known as a pleural effusion. If this happens, it may be possible to remove some of the fluid and examine it for cancer cells.

Pancreatic Cancer & Fluid Buildup In The Lungs

More than 37,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer every year, mostly those over the age of 55, reports Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center 124. Typically, there are no early symptoms of pancreatic cancer, which makes it difficult to diagnose and treat successfully 24. Fluid buildup in the lungs can occur as a result of many disease processes, including metastatic cancer from the pancreas.

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

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Hi I Just Read Your Posts

I just read your posts. From what We experienced fluid that is cancerous is not good. Vince also hadmalignant fluid in his abdomen. Dr. Gibson at UPMC explained it this way. Its like all of your organs in theAbdomen floating in a fishbowl of cancerous fluid. Once Vince had his last chest drainHe passed away a week later. REMEMBER THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED TO US. This may not be the case with your mom.

Please know that everyone is different. Is your mom Stage 4 ? If she is the Dr is telling you the truth. It willnot change the stage. Vince was a stage 2b and once he had the fluid he went to Stage 4.The chemo did not control Vince’s cancer. He started chemo) in Oct 2010 and passed away Feb 2011. He firstNoticed the fluid in Dec 2010 and at that time he was taking the big guns of Taxotere, Cisplatin, and 5FU.

I am sure the City of Hope is a great place so do your research .

I am so sorry you are going thru all of this. This was the hardest thing that I have ever been thru.

If you need any help please let me know. As far as what to expect IF IT WERE ME I would go and try to be withMom as soon as you can. EC is vicious and you never know what will happen next. If you want to call me I amat 706-897-4056

Treatment For Secondary Lung Cancer

Fluid in the Chest (Pleural Effusion)

The treatment for a secondary lung cancer depends on the individual situation, including your general health and the type of primary cancer. Sometimes a combination of treatments is used.


Chemotherapy is commonly given to reduce and control secondary cancers in the lung. The type of chemotherapy you have will depend on whether youve had chemotherapy before and how long ago.

Hormonal therapy

Hormonal therapy is also commonly used to treat secondary cancers in the lung when they have developed from certain cancers, such as breast or prostate cancer, that are responsive to hormonal treatments. The type of hormonal therapy you have will depend on which hormonal treatments youve already been given.


Surgery to remove the secondary lung cancer may be possible for a small number of people. This may only be an option if the primary cancer has been controlled and there is no evidence of the cancer having spread anywhere else in the body. It also requires the cancer to be affecting just one small part of the lungs, which is easy to get to, and not attached to important blood vessels or nerves.

You might have a short course of radiotherapy to relieve some symptoms of secondary lung cancer, such as breathlessness or coughing up blood .

If the cancer is causing a blockage in the windpipe or one of the large airways, laser therapy may be used to burn the tumor out of the airway. This may relieve some of the symptoms, though it does not destroy the cancer completely.

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