Lung Cancer SymptomsWhat are the symptoms of lung cancer?
When lung cancer first develops, there may be no symptoms at all. But as the cancer grows, it can cause changes that people should watch for. One fourth of all people with lung cancer have no symptoms when the cancer is diagnosed. These cancers are usually identified incidentally when a chest x-ray is performed for another reason. The other three fourths of people develop some symptoms. The symptoms are due to direct effects of the primary tumor; to effects of metastatic tumors in other parts of the body; or to malignant disturbances of hormones, blood, or other systems. Lung cancer most often spreads to the liver, the adrenal glands, the bones, and the brain.
Following are the potential lung cancer symptoms:
- Having a cough most of the time or a change in the cough you have had for a long time is a common lung cancer symptom. A new cough in a smoker or a former smoker should raise concern for lung cancer. A cough that does not go away or gets worse over time should be evaluated by a health care provider. Coughing up blood (hemoptysis) occurs in a significant number of people who have lung cancer. Any amount of coughed-up blood should cause alarm.
- Wheezing, or hoarseness of voice can be the symptoms of lung cancer. Wheezing or hoarseness may signal blockage or inflammation in the lungs that may go along with cancer.
- Swelling of the face caused by a blockage of a main blood vessel from the head (SVCO). SVCO stands for superior vena cava obstruction. If the the vena cava, a large vein that carries blood from the brain and head back to the heart, is blocked, there is a build up behind the blockage causing fluid to seep out from the bloodstream and collect in the tissues of the face, causing swelling.
- Constant chest pain. Chest pain is a lung cancer symptom in about one fourth of people with lung cancer. The pain is dull, aching, and persistent and may involve other structures surrounding the lung.
- Being short of breath. Shortness of breath usually results from a blockage in part of the lung, collection of fluid around the lung (pleural effusion), or the spread of tumor through the lungs.
- Repeated respiratory infections, such as bronchitis or pneumonia(inflammation of the lungs), can be a sign of lung cancer.
- Metastatic lung cancer in the liver and in the adrenal glands usually does not cause any symptoms, at least at the time of diagnosis. Metastasis to the bones is most common with small cell type cancers but also occurs with other lung cancer types. Lung cancer that has metastasized to the bone causes bone pain, usually in the backbone (vertebrae), the thighbones, and the ribs.
- Lung cancer that spreads to the brain can cause difficulties with vision, weakness on one side of the body, and/or seizures. Paraneoplastic syndromes are the remote, indirect effects of cancer not related to direct invasion. Such lung cacner symptoms include the following:
- Depositing of extra tissue under the nails.
- New bone formation Along the lower legs or arms.
- Anemiam, muscle weakness, skin rashes, and degeneration of the brain.
- Weight loss, Fatigue, Low sodium levels.
These symptoms may be caused by lung cancer or by other conditions. It is important to check with a doctor if you have lung cancer symptoms because only a doctor can make a diagnosis. Don't wait to feel pain. Early cancer usually doesn't cause pain.
To find out if lung cancer may be present, the doctor evaluates a person's medical history, smoking history, their exposure to environmental and occupational substances, and family history of cancer. The doctor also performs a physical exam and may order a chest x-ray or other tests. Seeing a spot on a chest x-ray is usually how a doctor first suspects that lung cancer may be present.
Summary of lung cancer symptoms :
- Constant cough, coughing up blood, hemoptysis. A change in a cough you have had for a long time. An ache or pain when breathing or coughing.
- Shortness of breath, wheezing, or hoarseness
- Chest pain.
- Swelling of the neck and face.
- Loss of appetite and weight loss.
- Repeated problems with pneumonia or bronchitis.
Other lung cancer symptoms include:
- Weakness, fatigue.
- Skin paleness or bluish discoloration.
- Difficulty swallowing
- Muscle contractions or atrophy (shrinkage).
- Joint pain or swelling.
- Pain or discomfort under your ribs on your right side (from the liver).
- Facial swelling or paralysis.
- Eyelid drooping.
- Bone pain/tenderness.
- Breast swelling in men.
These symptoms are rarely caused by lung cancer. But they can be. So it is important you tell your doctor about any new symptoms you have noticed. They may be nothing to do with your cancer and so your mind can be put at rest.
Lung cancer can be treated with lung cancer chemotherapy.
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