A lowdown on the early and lesser obvious symptoms of lung cancer that can help diagnose the condition at an earlier stage itself.
Lung cancer is one of the most widespread cancers found in men and women throughout the world. The US National Cancer Institute predicted that 1 out of 14 people will be diagnosed with the condition at some point in their life. Detecting the condition at its initial stages can be difficult because rarely are any of the symptoms visible. Keeping alert for any warning signs and symptoms can give you a clue about what is wrong and can push you to go to the doctor and get a proper diagnosis done.
Cough that accompanies a cold should ideally be gone within two weeks since the cold starts. But, if you notice a persistent cough that refuses to decline even after weeks or if you cough blood in the sputum, it is best to go to the doctor and get it analyzed. Through a series of X-rays and other tests, the doctor can determine if anything as serious as lung cancer is present in your body.
Chronic cough is another trigger that should not be ignored and this is particularly applicable for smokers. If you find that the cough gets hoarser, go to the doctor. In case you cough up blood, it is a sign to get yourself checked immediately. Coughing mucus is common among smokers but if you find that is mucus is more than usual, a trip your healthcare provider is recommended.
Experiencing breathlessness while performing a task that you could easily do in the past is a symptom of lung cancer. Being aware of your breath while performing regular activities like climbing the stairs or cleaning your home way to stay in the present. Shortness of breath occurs when the airway passage is blocked or narrowed which happens when secretions from possible tumors accumulates in the chest. If this symptom occurs, don’t ignore it and consult your doctor immediately.
Symptoms of chest, should and back pain are a early warning of lung cancer. Any sharp pains that remains chronic or comes and goes should not go ignored. Keep track of if the pain shifts and inform your doctor about it. Pain can arise from enlarged lymph nodes or metastasis of cancer to the chest walls and ribs which also causes inflammation that can be uncomfortable.
Asthma, allergy and COPD patients often experience wheezing because of the constriction of the airways. Several curable causes can be the result of wheezing or whistling sound while breathing but if this pops up suddenly in your life, lung cancer might not be ruled off the table. Confirming what exactly is the cause of the wheezing is crucial so getting an appointment with your doctor is recommended.
Teenagers commonly experience changes in their voice whilst growing up but if this symptom pops into your life while you are older, get it checked. A common cold can also be the reason for this, but if the symptom continues for more than a few weeks, it might be something more serious. Lung cancer patients experience hoarseness in their voice when the cancer from the tumor infects the nerves surrounding the larynx which is the voice box of the body. Swelling of the face and neck is also a symptom of lung cancer.
Lung cancer and other cancer patients experience unexplained weight loss of ten or more pounds. Cancer cells require more energy to sustain and so they use up a large portion of the energy created in the body. The process of food digestion also changes in cancer patients resulting in unusual weight loss. People who are working to lose weight by controlling what they eat and exercises do not have to worry but if you find your shedding pounds without trying, then it may be a clue to a shift in your health.
Lung cancer that metastasizes into the bones can create pain in the back, bones and other regions of the body. It is common for the pain to increase during the night when you are resting on your back. Be aware of any aches and discomfort and discuss them with your doctor as a precaution.
When lung cancer metastasizes to the brain, it can cause chronic migraines and headaches. Headache may be a sign of some other curable condition but if no medication works, getting a CT scan to check for lung cancer is recommended. In some cases, the tumor in the lung can put added pressure on the superior vena cava, a large vein that transports blood from the heart to the upper body. This pressure can cause headaches.
Experiencing chronic chest infections can be a result of conditions like chronic bronchitis, COPD and heart conditions. But, it is also a symptom of lung cancer that shouldn’t be ignored. It is easy to misdiagnose a condition especially when the patient already suffers from other conditions. Often the body sends out signs about something being wrong and it is not diagnosed until later stages of the cancer which makes the treatment more difficult. If you experience persistent chest infections that do not respond to antibiotics, inform your doctor and get yourself tested for other conditions.
Discover top tips for a healthy body and mind with our weekly wellbeing newsletter.
Join our mailing list today.