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Lung cancer health centre

Complications of lung cancer

NHS Choices Medical Reference

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The complications of lung cancer depend on the type, size, position within the lung, and spread of the cancer. A tumour can cause a blockage of one of the main breathing tubes (bronchi), leading to collapse of part of the lung, or a build up of fluid in the lung cavity (called an effusion) may develop.

Spread of the cancer to the bones or pressure on nerves from the tumour can cause pain, and some types of lung cancer produce hormones which can cause a number of unusual symptoms, such as flushing and diarrhoea.


  • Diarrhoea: Diarrhoea is the passing of frequent watery stools when you go to the toilet.
  • Pain: Pain is an unpleasant physical or emotional feeling that your body produces as a warning sign that it has been damaged.
  • Lung: Lungs are a pair of organs in the chest that control breathing. They remove carbon dioxide from the blood and replace it with oxygen.
Medical Review: October 12, 2009

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