Every year, approximately 1.3 million people lose the battle against lung cancers, one of the deadliest killers of this era. Early detection and treatment can help prevent it from spreading to other parts of the body. While it may be one of the most menacing forms of cancer, it can be stopped, especially at the early stages.
Knowing how the disease manifest can save your life which is you should need to be aware of all the early signs and symptoms.
Here is the list of 8 signs of Lung Cancer You Shouldn’t Ignore:
The medical term for labored breathing simply refers to experiencing difficulties breathing. While this symptom may not seem too frightening, feeling out of breath can be an early sign of lung cancer, especially if it happens often. A sign of concern is when labored breathing manifests when doing trivial, regular tasks.
When this happens, it is recommended to schedule a medical check. It is worth mentioning that labored breathing is a symptom of many health affections. Only a proper medical check can determine if it is caused by lung cancer or some other pulmonary affection. Getting a proper diagnostic at early as possible increases the chances of fighting lung cancer.
8. Chronic Cough
Coughing that persists for days and weeks even with medication may indicate possible lung problems. In the vast majority of cases, persistent coughing is associated with allergies or the common cold. When it lasts for more than eight weeks, it may be time to get a more detailed diagnosis.
It is important to know that if the cough is caused by lung problems, it will feel dry and it will cause your voice to sound raspy and hoarse. Lung cancer patients usually report that their cough problems intensify during the night. In turn, this leads to less sleep, induces states of fatigue, causes a loss in productivity, and can even alter the mental state of the patient.
7. Loss of Weight
Loss of weight, in certain circumstances, is not something to worry about, especially since so many people these days are trying to scrape off a few pounds. When it happens effortlessly, without significant changes in your diet or lifestyle, it should make you wonder what has changed inside your body.
Cancer cells consume a lot of energy as they grow and spread which leads to weight loss. At the same time, cancer patients experience a lack of appetite which also explains the sudden loss in weight. Weight loss can also be caused by extremely rare conditions known as cachexia. Cachexia is a state in which the body starts breaking down muscle fibers and fat as it desperately trying to find sources of energy.
6. Chest Pain
The most common sign of lung cancer is chest pain. Patients describe it as a pain that is felt deep inside the lungs while trying to lift something or when they cough. In the early stages, it may not happen every single time when you cough or perform physical activity. It the pain starts manifesting more often than not, then it should be a sign of concern. The pain intensifies as cancer expands, reaching nerve endings, and pressing against healthy lung tissues.
As lung cancer may expand to other parts of the body, the newly affected regions may also be accompanied by pain. When lung cancer reaches metastasizes, it can expand into surrounding bone tissue. A concerning sign would be severe bone pain around the hips area or in the back. It is vital to consult a doctor as quickly as possible when this type of pain occurs.
5. Hand and Finger Pain
At first, you may be tempted to disregard trivial symptoms such as hand and finger pain. The symptom occurs in 11% of lung cancer patients. It is also a symptom that occurs in 35% of all stomach cancer patients.
The ones experiencing hand and finger pain may notice a disfiguring symptom in which the skin on their palm becomes thicker and develops white and noticeable folds. This happens because of the excess development of new skin cells. As a result, the skin can develop a scaly aspect.
4. Bloody Sputum
Bloody sputum or bloody phlegm are two medical terms used to describe the same thing which is the presence of blood when coughing. As lung cancer attacks and damages lung cells, patients often see small droplets of blood that can be read or have the color of rust when they spit or cough. This happens when the disease is just beyond its initial stage.
By now, difficulties when breathing and chest pain should have already been present as symptoms. Bloody sputum appears later on, after these two previously mentioned symptoms manifest. There is a chance that the presence of blood when coughing may not be caused by lung cancer. Other diseases may cause this symptom and in no case, it should be ignored. It has to be checked out by a doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
3. Mood Swings
Lung cancer has been associated with several physical symptoms that can be easy to observe. Interestingly enough, lung cancer can also cause mood swings resulting in unexpected episodes of anger, depression, mental fatigue, and irritability. These symptoms become more noticeable for individuals that are naturally calm and easygoing.
These mental issues are nonspecific and can be caused by a wide range of social factors as well as other medical conditions. Even an experienced doctor may miss to associate it with lung cancer at first. These mood swings tend to manifest at later stages of a lung cancer patient but there are rare cases in which they occur in the incipient stages of the disease. This means that without a prior diagnosis of lung cancer, the association of lung disease with mood swings of an apparently healthy individual can be difficult to spot.
2. Recurring Infections
The Oncological community has found that frequent pulmonary infections are common among lung cancer patients. The occurrence of diseases such as pneumonia is a direct effect of cancerous cells developing inside the lungs, affecting the airways. The presence of lung cancer compromises the immune system as the body fights against the malignancy, thus making the patient more sensitive to pulmonary infections and other diseases.
A recommended practice would be to get x-rays done and checked out by a doctor if you experience frequent lung infections. Bacterial infections tend to inflict additional damage to the lungs as well as the respiratory tract and may need to be treated with antibiotics.
1. Shoulder Pain
As lung cancer advances, it starts to press against the lungs, nerves, and armpits. At later stages of the disease, patients can notice a sharp pain in their shoulders, hands, and inner arm. These symptoms indicate that the disease is at an advanced stage and will be much more difficult to treat. Survival rates drop considerably as the disease is left unchecked thus shoulder pain should be a major sign of alarm.
Additionally, the shoulder pain may be accompanied by soreness around the rib cage area and armpits. Swollen lymph nodes are quite common at this stage as well as facial swelling. If any of the above symptoms manifest, you need to consult your doctor without any delay to have an actual chance of fighting against lung cancer.