knowing that the warning signs of lung cancer might get you screened sooner. Early detection of lung cancer allows for more personalized treatment options, with a much better chance of success. Having one of the following symptoms of lung cancer is generally not a cause for concern, but if you experience multiple symptoms over an extended time, it is time to see your doctor.
Lung cancer may not produce any noticeable symptoms in the early stages, and many people are not diagnosed until the disease is in an advanced stage. Read on to learn more about nine early lung cancer symptoms.
Early Signs of Lung Cancer
Shortness of breath or easy excitement is also possible symptoms of lung cancer. Changes in breathing may occur if lung cancer blocks or constricts an airway, or if fluid from a lung tumor accumulates in the chest.
Be careful if you feel wrinkled or short of breath. If you find it difficult to breathe after climbing stairs or performing tasks you once found easy, don’t ignore it.
Cough that doesn’t stop
Be wary of a new cough that gets stuck. A cough associated with a cold or respiratory infection will disappear within a week or two, but a persistent cough that lingers can be a symptom of lung cancer.
Change in a cough
Watch for changes in a chronic cough, especially if you smoke. If you cough more often, your cough is deeper or sounds hoarse, or you are coughing up blood or an unusual amount of mucus, it is time to make a doctor’s appointment.
Lung cancer can cause pain in the chest, shoulders, or back. A painful feeling cannot be associated with coughing. Tell your doctor if you notice any kind of chest pain, whether sharp, dull, constant or intermittent.
You should also notice if it is limited to a certain area or if it occurs all over your chest. When lung cancer causes chest pain, the discomfort may be due to enlarged lymph nodes or metastasis of the chest wall, the lining around the lungs called pleura or the ribs.
When the airways become narrowed, blocked or inflamed, the lungs produce a squeaking or whistling sound when you breathe. Wheezing can have several causes, some of which are benign and easy to treat.
However, wheezing is also a symptom of lung cancer and therefore deserves your doctor’s attention.
An unexplained weight loss of 10 pounds or more may be associated with lung cancer or some other form of cancer. When cancer is present, this weight loss may be due to cancer cells using energy. It may also be due to shifts in the way the body uses energy from food.
Don’t write off a change in your weight if you haven’t tried to lose weight. It may be an indication of a change in your health.
Hoarse, hoarse voice
If you hear a significant change in your voice, or if someone else points out that your voice sounds deeper, hoarser, or raspier, have your doctor check you.
Lung cancer may occur when the tumor affects the nerve that controls the larynx or voice box.
Headaches can be a sign that lung cancer has spread to the brain. However, not all headaches are associated with brain metastases.
Sometimes a lung tumor can put pressure on the superior vena cava. This is the large vein that moves blood from the upper body to the heart. The pressure can also lead to headaches, or in more severe cases to migraines.
Pain in the bones
Lung cancer that has spread to the bones can cause pain in the back or other parts of the body. This pain can get worse at night while resting on the back. It can be difficult to distinguish between bone and muscle pain. The pain in the bones is often worse at night and increases with movement.
Also, lung cancer is sometimes associated with shoulder, arm, or neck pain, although this is less common. Be attentive to your pain, and discuss it with your doctor.
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