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Signs and Symptoms of Lung Cancer

Nearly 25% of people with lung cancer experience no signs and symptoms before diagnoses via chest X-ray or CT scan that is done for any other reasons like chest pain, breathing problem, etc. So, it is important to know the early signs and symptoms of lung cancer.

Given below are the early signs or causes of lung cancer that you must be aware of and immediately see the doctor if you experience any of these symptoms:

1. A Cough which does not settle

You must be aware of a lingering cough that won’t quit. Usually, cough is related to any respiratory infection or cold. But if it is persistent and doesn’t seem to go away, it might be an early symptom of lung cancer. You should not neglect a stubborn cough and immediately consult your doctor and get necessary test done.

2. Hoarseness and Changes in a Chronic Cough

Change in quality of voice is associated with lung cancer if a tumor affects the nerves controlling the voice box. Generally, hoarse or raspy voice can also be due to cold or throat infection.  Consult a doctor if it is persist.

If you smoke, you need to pay attention to the changes in a chronic cough. If a persistent cough is accompanied by deeper hoarse sound and you’re noticing blood while coughing, it’s best to see the doctor right away.

3. Changes in Breathing Pattern

If you are experiencing breathlessness or feeling easily winded, these might be the early signs of lung cancer. These changes in breathing pattern occur if air passage is blocked due to tumor build up in the lungs or chest. If you feel breathlessness even after climbing regular stairs or performing small tasks at home/office, don’t neglect it.

4. Chest Pain

You must see your doctor if you observe any dull, sharp, or intermittent chest pain. Also, note that whether it is occurring throughout the chest or just confined to a particular area. Chest pain can be associated with lung cancer.

5. Wheezing

Whistling or wheezing sound produced while breathing is due to the blocked, inflamed or constricted airways in the lungs. Wheezing occurs due to different reasons, such as benign that can be treated easily. But it is also associated with lung cancer, so you cannot ignore this symptom. Don’t just assume that it is being caused by allergies or asthma. Just see your doctor for the diagnosis.

6. Sudden Weight Loss

Sudden or unexplained weight loss of 8 to 10 kg or more could be a sign of lung cancer or any other type of cancer. The weight loss occurs because cancer cells start using excess energy, resulting in using energy from the food you consume. If you’re not into regular exercising and still you observe weight loss, it’s a matter of serious concern.

7. Bone Pain

If lung cancer spreads to bones, you may start observing pain in the shoulder, back and other areas of your body. This pain usually worsens at night when you’re resting on the back. It is actually difficult to find out whether it’s muscle pain or bone pain. But in lung cancer, the pain increases with movement and becomes worse at night while resting.

8. Headache

All headaches are not associated with lung cancer but if a lung tumor starts creating pressure on the brain, vomiting and weakness may be present.

Causes of lung cancer:

Smoking is the major cause of lung cancer – in both smokers. But you will be surprised to know that lung cancer may also develop in people who never smoked in their life – inhaled smoke due to passive smoking or second hand smoke. In second hand smoking, the causes of lung cancer are not clear.

But in smokers, the smoke of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc. are likely to damage the lining of the lungs. When people near you also inhale cigarette smoke that is full of carcinogens, there are more chances of lung tissues to develop tumor or cancer.

Initially, your body may try to repair this damage but with increasing and repeated exposure, the normal cells lining your lungs increase the chances of damage. Over time, the lung damage increases the growth of abnormal cells that eventually cause cancer.

Other causes of lung cancer include:

  • Exposure to radon gas
  • The family history of lung cancer
  • Exposure to asbestos, as well as other carcinogens

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