Lung cancer symptoms you should not ignore

By Medically reviewed by Panel Perubatan Hello Doktor

In the early stages or lung cancer, symptoms don’t usually appear, making it hard to diagnose lung cancer early. Recognizing symptoms of lung cancer can help you get a better and more effective treatment of lung cancer. If you have lung cancer, you might have the following symptoms:

  • Feeling tired or weak is a common symptom of lung cancer. Often because you are constantly under attack by other symptoms that take a toll on your body.
  • A cough that does not go away or gets worse. An intense, persistent, or consistently worsening cough can be a sign of lung cancer and should be investigated, especially if you cough up blood or bloody mucus and phlegm.
  • Coughing up blood or rust-colored fluids.
  • Chest pain that is often worse with deep breathing, coughing, or laughing.
  • Changes in voice from an inflamed vocal chord or nervous problem.
  • Weight loss from loss of appetite if the tumor presses on your esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach).
  • Shortness of breath or a tight or crushing feeling in the chest. It can be caused by the tumor pressing on your lungs or the fluids around the lungs pushing on it.
  • Infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia that don’t go away or keep coming back.
  • New onset of wheezing or whistling sound caused by constricted air passages, which may be the result of a tumor.
  • Fever is a common symptom that indicates something is wrong with your body.
  • Lumps near the surface of the body, due to cancer spreading to the skin or to lymph nodes (collections of immune system cells), such as those in the neck or above the collarbone.

Some other symptoms that are common for all cancer are:

  • Pain in the shoulders or back;
  • Constant chest pain;
  • Frequent or recurring lung infections (i.e. Pneumonia and bronchitis);
  • Unintended weight loss;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Headache.

If lung cancer spreads to your surrounding organs, it may cause:

  • Bone pain (like pain in the back or hips).
  • Nervous system changes (such as headache, weakness or numbness of an arm or leg, dizziness, balance problems, or seizures), from cancer spread to the brain or spinal cord.
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), from cancer spread to the liver.
  • Weakness or numbness of the arms and legs.
  • Blood clots.

The symptoms for lung cancer often depend on where the cancer is. For example, if the cancer tumor is at the center of the chest, it can cause coughing and shortness of breath. Reason being, the tumor may be pressing on the major airway or blood vessel. Bacteria and secretions from the lung may back up behind the obstruction in the airway, causing pneumonia. If the cancer tumor occurs on the outside parts of the lung, you can experience pain, as this is the only area of the lung with nerve endings. The heart and center of the lung don’t have any nerve endings so lung cancer tumors in these areas are often unnoticed.

Lung cancer causes the highest cases of death in all kind of cancer because their symptoms can because by other conditions and are often overlooked. As mentioned before, lung cancer rarely causes pain, many patients often don’t have an early diagnose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Review Date: September 10, 2016 | Last Modified: December 8, 2019

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