How to Tell If Lung Cancer Has Spread to Brain?

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  1. First, your doctor will observe and examine you to look for any symptoms that you have (a full clinical examination).
  2. A neurological examination is one of the common first tests. It can help examine your nervous system.
  3. Your muscle reaction and strength will be analyzed, too.
  4. Your doctor may also check your eyes for any changes.
  5. The brain scan is the main procedure. It can be with CT scan, MRI scan, or you may need to take both of these tests.
  6. If any abnormal growth shows up on the brain scan, your doctor may suggest a biopsy. This can be accurate enough to find the answer of whether or not the growth is cancer.

Since brain is a vital organ, any brain surgery (including biopsy, where only a small tissue removed) can be a major medical procedure. Therefore, you may skip biopsy.


Taking your personal medical history into account and with the result of your brain scan, these are usually enough to tell you whether or not your lung cancer has spread to brain.

Treatment options if lung cancer has spread to brain

Determining the treatment for secondary brain cancer is not easy. Each treatment will have some side effects. But your doctors have completely understood about this issue. They will suggest treatment that can give more benefits and outweigh the risks!

You may also need to look for a second opinion. The following checklists are other things you need to concern before taking the treatment:

  1. The quality of your life during and after the treatment.
  2. The benefits and side effects of the treatment – discus this issue completely before you start the treatment!
  3. The cost of the treatment. It’s much better if your insurance can help!
  4. And whatever the treatment you take, just tell your doctor if you find it too much to cope with!

There are some treatment options to choose from. But in general, it is usually treated with steroid tablets to help control the symptoms. Radiotherapy is another common treatment.

The side effects of radiotherapy usually strikes a few days or weeks after the treatment. Additional medicines may be prescribed to help reduce these side effects.

Other treatment options may include chemotherapy and hormone therapy. Below are common factors that can affect the kind of treatment you need to take:

  1. The location of where the cancer grows in the brain. For instance, if the cancer grows in the very essential part of the brain, surgery may not be suggested because it is too dangerous to remove an important part of the brain with surgery.
  2. How many cancer cells that have spread to the brain. If there are too many cancer cells, it’s more difficult to remove them completely. For such case, surgery is usually also impossible. This is likely to be treated with radiotherapy.
  3. The respond of the cancer to the treatment, and the cancer treatment you have had taken.
  4. Are there other parts of the body affected by the metastasis of lung cancer?
  5. Your general health and fit status!
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