Lung cancer leads to a variety of secondary health complications with many cancer patients experiencing complications that are often not expected. If you have been diagnosed with small cell lung cancer it is particularly important to become familiar with the health complications that may arise including those associated with changes in your immune response.
For some small cell lung cancer patients, there is a risk for developing a complication known as Eaton-Lambert syndrome, ELS. With ELS, there can be a marked change in your physical energy level, aside from complications associated with small cell lung cancer.
Eaton-Lambert syndrome is a rare disorder associated with small cell lung cancer, characterized by muscle weakness and paralysis that are not typically found in cancer patients. In fact, in the early sates of Eaton-Lambert syndrome, you may find that you are experiencing complications with a change in vision, a decrease in your normal posture, find difficulty with chewing, and even changes in speech. In many ELS sufferers, fatigue is more pronounced than that seen in normal cancer outcomes.
If you believe you may have Eaton-Lambert syndrome, it is important to ask your doctor about the treatment options and diagnosis. Typically, this health complication can be diagnosed relatively easily with laboratory testing. Once confirmed, your doctor will need to make referral for physical therapy or rehabilitation as oftentimes the condition can not be treated as it is a direct immune response to the chemotherapy and decrease in neurotransmitters from cancer.
As your chemotherapy and radiation therapy wind down, and your cancer goes into remission, then the symptoms of ELS will diminish as well. However, since the muscle weakness and paralysis are a complication, it will be important to go into rehabilitation to be sure that you keep your body in a healthy state of conditioning and avoid as much muscle atrophy, or disuse atrophy, from developing.
Small cell lung cancer can lead to a variety of health complications and, oftentimes, we do not associate the health changes with a possible secondary complication. If you are living with small cell lung cancer, and if you notice paralysis in your extremities, be sure to ask your doctor about the possible implications of Eaton-Lambert syndrome as physical therapy and rehab will be immediately necessary.
Sources: 100 Questions & Answers About Lung Cancer, by Karen Parles