Lung cancer patients with ‘knee’ symptoms may have poorer prognosis

Lung cancer: Dr Amir describes the symptoms in February

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Lung cancer occurs when cancer-causing agents trigger the abnormal growth of cells in the lungs. In a great number of cases, the trigger is cigarette smoke, but even non-smokers develop the disease. Unfortunately, lung cancer has a poor outlook because it is often picked up late. For patients with metastases in the synovial tissue, the prognosis can be “dreadful”.

Pain in the knee may occur if a tumour metastasises or spreads to the connective tissue areas, according to several health bodies.

Alternatively, knee pain could result from unusual complications from lung cancer like neoplastic syndromes.

Lung cancer is often picked up in the advanced stages of the disease due to an absence of symptoms at the outset.

This means that in a great number of cases, the tumour has spread to neighbouring tissues by the time it’s diagnosed.

In lung cancer, metastasis often affects the brain, lymph nodes, liver and adrenal glands, but it can spread almost anywhere in the body, including the synovial tissue.

“Lung carcinoma is the most common primary malignancy to metastasise to synovial tissue and the knee joint is the most common joint to be affected,” notes researchers at the Archive of Proceedings of Baylor University Medical Center.

Broadly speaking, synovial tissue is a type of connective tissue in the proactive membranes surrounding the body’s joints.

When the knee is impacted by a metastasising tumour, symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Decreased ability to stand
  • Impaired ability to straighten the knee.

These symptoms are sometimes seen in large-cell lung cancer, which comprises about five to 10 percent of all lung cancer.

“It is a diagnosis of exclusion, as it is often the diagnosis in which a lung malignancy does not show characteristics of smell cell, squamous cell, or adenocarcinoma,” explains the scientists at the Archive of Proceedings of Baylor University Medical Center.

“Most cases of synovial metastasis, specifically of the knee joint, from a lung primary demonstrated adenocarcinoma features […] followed by squamous cell carcinoma features.

“Unfortunately, all synovial metastasis carries with it a dreadful prognosis. Average survival after discovery is five months.”

How long does it take for lung cancer symptoms to appear?

It’s important to note that some lung cancer patients live with a tumour for years before it starts to produce obvious signs.

Once cells multiply out of control, however, they grow into a tumour which will destroy nearby areas of the lung.

“Eventually, tumour cells can spread to nearby lymph nodes and other parts of the body,” explains Harvard Health.

According to Medicine Net, it can take around eight years for squamous cell carcinoma to reach the size of 30mm when it is most commonly diagnosed.

At this stage, the most common signs tend to involve a cough that maybe be persistent or frequently recurring.

Patients often experience other complications with their breathing, including persistent breathlessness or an ache and pain when breathing.

As with nearly all cancer, catching the disease in its earliest stages is key to survival.

For patients who have small, early-stage lung cancer, the cure rate can be as high as 80 percent to 90 percent, according to Cancer Net.

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