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MRI scan showing lung cancer spread

There really is no definitive answer to the question, “How fast can lung cancer spread?” That’s because a cancer’s behavior can vary greatly depending on its type, location, stage and a multitude of other factors. Generally speaking, however, lung cancer is a malignancy that tends to spread early. There are some types of lung cancer that typically spread faster than others.

Which type of lung cancer spreads the fastest?

Small cell lung cancer usually grows and spreads faster than non-small cell lung cancer. Around 70% of small cell lung cancers have already spread at the time of diagnosis. There are some forms of non-small cell lung cancer that are also fast-growing, such as large cell undifferentiated carcinoma and large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma.

Where does lung cancer spread?

When lung cancer spreads, or metastasizes, it can move to nearby tissues or to more distant areas in the body. While it’s possible for lung cancer to spread virtually anywhere, it most commonly metastasizes in the liver, brain, bones or adrenal glands.

How is metastatic lung cancer treated?

Treatment for metastatic lung cancer varies from patient to patient. When lung cancer spreads locally, to nearby tissues such as the lining of the lung or lymph nodes, surgery could be an effective option, whereas radiation therapy or chemotherapy might be more likely to be recommended for lung cancer that has spread to distant parts of the body.

At Moffitt Cancer Center, we take a comprehensive, individualized approach to treatment. Our multispecialty team of surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and other lung cancer experts collaborate to develop a tailored treatment plan for each patient. This ensures the best possible outcome and quality of life for every one of our patients.

For more information about lung cancer, how fast it spreads and how it is treated, call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online.