The lung is one of the organs to which breast cancers progress and so-called metastasize. The nodules that form following the metastasis of breast cancers to the lungs make up forty-seven percent of all lung nodules.
In the following, we will talk more about breast cancer metastasis and lung nodules following breast cancer malignancies.
How long does breast cancer metastasize to the lung and form a lung nodule?
Each cell division in breast cancer usually takes one to two months. Lung nodules mean the presence of a lump in the lung tissue. Lungs lumps that are less than three centimeters in diameter are nodules, and amounts greater than three centimeters are called pulmonary masses.
It takes two to five years for a lung nodule to develop following breast cancer. The margins of malignant lung nodules are irregular on diagnostic imaging and the tissue of malignant lung nodules is non-uniform.
In front of breast cancer to lymph nodes!!!
Usually the first place that breast cancers (adenocarcinomas) develop is the lymph nodes that are located near the breasts. When the lymph nodes become involved, the cancer metastasizes to other organs, including the lungs
The five-year survival of a person with breast cancer whose lymph nodes are involved around the breast is about eighty-six percent.
The number of cells in a malignant lung nodule can double about every four months, while a benign and noncancerous lung nodule generally does not change in size over time.
What makes us suspect that a lung nodule is malignant?
- If a person with a lung nodule has cancer now or in the past, they are more likely to have a lung nodule.
- Large lung nodules (for example, a 5 mm lung nodule is less likely to be cancerous than a 3 cm nodular malignancy)
- If the size of the lung nodule increases in follow-up sessions, it is more likely to be cancerous than when the nodule size remains constant in consecutive follow-up sessions (even benign lung nodules must be followed up by scanning during specific sessions).
- If the edges of the lung nodule are irregular in the pictures, the possibility of the nodule being malignant is increased
We must say that the most common cause of multiple lung nodules is metastasis to other cancers. !!!!!!
What are the symptoms of Breast cancer lung nodules?
A person with breast cancer should be further evaluated for metastatic lung nodules if they experience one or more of the following symptoms and manifestations:
- Cough soaked in bloodstains
- Prolonged cough for which the medical team did not find a specific cause
- Difficult breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Chest and lung pain
- Weakness and fatigue
- Decreased appetite
- Weight Loss
- Recurrent lung infections
Hearing an abnormal sound during a lung examination by a doctor is also a sign that needs further examination.
It is often difficult to differentiate the symptoms of lung nodule cancer from a respiratory infection. Most doctors believe that common symptoms will need further evaluation if they last more than two weeks.
Lung metastases in the early stages are usually asymptomatic and are often detected during regular follow-up and during an imaging such as a chest CT scan.
Diagnosis of breast to lung cancer metastasis
Your doctor needs to know what a lung nodule on imaging is. Is the lung nodule caused by lung cancer itself or is it related to breast cancer?
Therefore, it may require further testing for accurate diagnosis:
- Microscopic examination of pharyngeal sputum samples
In this procedure, by inserting very thin tubes into the airways of the lungs (which carry the camera), suspicious tissue is closely monitored and lung nodules are sampled.
- Needle biopsy of the lungs:
Using special equipment, the doctor takes a sample of the suspicious tissue from the lungs and refers the sample to a diagnostic laboratory for examination.
The surgeon surgically removes a part of the lung that contains suspicious tissue. The collected samples are referred to a pathologist for histological examination and diagnosis
What group of people with breast cancer develops malignant lung metastases and pulmonary nodules?
The lung is one of the most common organs involved in breast cancer, with fifty-seven to seventy-seven percent of people who die of breast cancer having malignant lung nodules from metastasis.
It is not yet clear what factors increase the risk of lung metastasis in breast cancer patients.
But the following factors are not ineffective:
- type of breast tumor subtype and characteristics of breast tumor:
HER2 positives and triple negatives are more likely to develop malignant pulmonary nodules following breast cancer metastasis (mentioned features are histological and cytological characteristics of breast tumors).
- The living conditions of the affected person, the general health conditions and the clinical characteristics of the patient with breast cancer also play a role in the possibility of lung metastasis.
Treatment of lung nodules caused by breast cancer
In general, if breast cancer has spread to the brain, liver, lungs, bones, etc., or has metastasized, systemic drug treatment will be necessary.
Systemic drug therapy includes the following:
- Hormone Therapy
- Target therapy (in the topic of immunotherapy, we have described this treatment)
In addition, bone strengthening medication will be used.
More invasive treatments such as surgery or radiotherapy are not the first choice of treatment team in metastatic lung nodules due to breast cancer.
It is necessary to say that sometimes malignant cells are seen in a person with breast cancer in the fluid around the lungs, which is called pleural effusion, which is different from lung nodules in breast cancer.
What is the prognosis for people with lung nodules following breast cancer?
Lung metastatic nodules are life-threatening. Lungs are a common site for metastases to tumors of other organs, including the breast, because they have many arteries. The average survival after chemotherapy and systemic treatments is about twenty-two and a half months, in other words, the spread of breast cancer to the lungs will be associated with a poor prognosis.