Besides the Lungs, What Organs Does Lung Cancer Affect?

September 8, 2021
2 min read
Besides the Lungs, What Organs Does Lung Cancer Affect?

Lung cancer is a condition in which the cells in the lungs divide rapidly and uncontrollably. It is quite treatable if detected early. However, when diagnosed late, lung cancer can be fatal. 

Lung cancer originates in the lungs and primarily affects the lungs and nearby lymph nodes. In certain cases, lung cancer spreads to other parts of the body. It is an aggressive cancer that can have a serious effect on other organs besides the lungs. Metastasis, or the spreading of cancer from one area to another, is a serious problem for people with lung cancer. Here are some organs it can affect:


The life expectancy of people diagnosed with lung cancer drastically drops once the disease spreads to the brain. The brain is an essential organ that directs bodily movements and controls thoughts, memories, and emotions. 

Lung cancer that has traveled from the lungs to the brain usually causes headaches and other neurological problems. You may begin to experience memory loss and unusual mood swings. Metastasized cancer can also cause seizures and paralysis. Keep your medical professional updated if you start to experience any brain issues while diagnosed with lung cancer. There can be severe consequences if not treated quickly. 

Bone and Muscle Pain

People diagnosed with lung cancer may experience frequent muscle pain, cramps, and/or spasms. Also, bone pains can arise, although it is harder to detect. You should take note if you feel pain, whether it is when you walk, lay down on your back, or conduct any type of activity that can cause stress. 

Bone metastases usually happen when lung cancer has reached an advanced stage. Some bones that may be affected include the femur, ribs, spine, sternum, and more. Shooting pain may occur when you try to move. Cancer will also weaken the bones. 


People diagnosed with advanced lung cancer often suffer pain and discomfort on the right side of the abdomen, where the liver is located. There are a variety of symptoms that may show up if your lung cancer has spread to the liver. Some symptoms are skin yellowing, a swollen abdomen, and weight and appetite loss. 

The liver is a common landing spot for metastatic lung cancer. You might not have symptoms even if the cancer has moved to the liver. Symptoms vary from person to person. Lung cancer that metastasizes to the liver may disrupt the processing of bile production, which occurs in the liver. 

Eyelids and Eyes

Lung cancer may cause your eyelids to become droopy. This is relatively uncommon because it is caused by a tumor formed in the lungs. It is called a Pancoast tumor and is located at the very top of one of the lungs. Pancoast tumors are known to cause Horner syndrome, which can cause the eyelids to function irregularly. 

This complication of lung cancer can also cause the shrinking of the pupils in the eye. You should monitor the size of your pupils, as it is a sign that lung cancer is affecting other body parts. Although this condition is rare, droopy eyelids should also be monitored.

Lung cancer can metastasize to other organs besides the lungs. It is important to detect symptoms and get treatment immediately, as this is usually a sign of advanced lung cancer. Medical professionals from BASS Medical Group understand how lung cancer operates and how it can spread. Visit our website or call our office at (925) 954-6710 for information about how we can help keep you and your family healthy.