Recognizing Symptoms of Lung Cancer

The symptoms of lung cancer are not noticeable during early stages of the disease, as it is not noticeable in the early stages, and the first symptoms to appear are frequently not evident as compared to those of other non-malignant respiratory illnesses.
There is a dilemma that generally lung cancers do not cause any symptoms until they have spread into other organ structures, though in a very few cases the symptoms are evident and detected as early lung cancer.
Thus a person with early lung cancer visits their healthcare consultant when they first noticed their symptoms, there is a great possibility that their cancer would be diagnosed and treated whilst at a curable stage, so it is of great importance that any person who is experiencing any of the following problems or symptoms should seek medical attention immediately.

The common signs and symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • A cough that gets worse and worse along with the passage of time and doesn’t seem to get under control.
  • A constant feeling of pain in the chest.
  • There is another major sign, which is coughing up of blood, also known as hemoptysis.
  • Frequent problems with pneumonia, bronchitis or other related respiratory problems.
  • Puffiness around the neck and face.
  • Feeling of exhaustion.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Wheezing and/or gasping.
  • Huskiness when speaking.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Mysterious weight loss.

It is of a great importance to know that these symptoms might also be related to other diseases as well and to know that if a person is having lung cancer can only be diagnosed by a specialist, who performs special tests to rule out the presence of lung cancer.
There are other symptoms that are caused if the lung cancer spreads out to other distant organs, which include:

  • Bony pain.
  • Neurological changes (such as weakness or lack of feeling of a limb, giddiness, or onset of a seizure).
  • Jaundice (which is a yellow colouring of the skin and eyes).
  • Cancerous masses that can occur near the surface of the body due to the spread of cancer to the skin or to lymph nodes (collection of immune system cells) in the neck or above the collarbone.

Other Signs and Symptoms of Lung Cancer

Horner's syndrome

When a lung tumor is in the upper lobes of the lungs can sometimes injure the nerve which is passing from the upper part of the chest into the neck. These cancers which occur in the upper part of the lung are also known as Pancoast tumours. A common symptom of a Pancoast tumour is a severe pain in the shoulder.
These tumours that occur in the upper part of the lung lobes can also cause Horner's syndrome. Horner's syndrome is a medical term for a group of symptoms, which consist of drooping or weakness of one eyelid, reduced or absent perspiration on the same side of the face, and the pupil in the eye on the affected side becomes smaller.

Paraneoplastic syndromes

There are lung cancers that produce hormone-like substances, which enter the bloodstream and cause problems with different tissues and organs. In this case the cancer does not have to spread itself to other tissues and organs to affect them.
Thus the problems occurring from these hormone like substances are known as Paraneoplastic or tumour-related syndromes. Often these are the symptoms that may be the first warning sign of early lung cancer. Unfortunately, these symptoms occur in other organ systems and therefore the patients and doctors suspect other diseases and the cancer is left untested for.
The people with small cell lung cancer and those with non-small cell lung cancer frequently have diverse Paraneoplastic syndromes.

The most common Paraneoplastic syndromes associated with small cell lung cancer are:

  • SIADH (syndrome of inappropriate anti-diuretic hormone). It causes the salt levels in the blood to become very low.

The symptoms of SIADH include exhaustion, loss of appetite, muscle weakness and / or cramps, queasiness, sickness, restlessness, and confusion. Without treatment, severe cases can lead to convulsions and eventually coma and death.
Other syndromes include:

  • There is also production of substances in the body that cause blood clots to form. These clots mainly occur in the veins of the legs, which lead to deep vein thrombosis, these clots can also clog up important blood vessels and disrupt the blood flow to the limbs, lungs, brain and other internal organs.
  • There is also a mysterious loss of sense of balance and unsteadiness in arm and leg movements.

The most common Paraneoplastic syndromes caused by non-small cell lung cancer are:

  • Hypercalcemia (high blood calcium levels) can cause urinary frequency, constipation, general weakness, giddiness, confusion and nervous system problems.
  • There is excess growth of certain bones that can occur, which can sometimes be painful. This is especially a problem in the fingertips.
  • Production of substances, which triggers clotting in the blood, which can lead to blood clots.
  • Excessive breast growth in men.


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