Lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer and one of the leading causes of death in females and males worldwide. Those who smoke have higher chances of developing cancer than those who do not. And, the signs and symptoms of lung cancer can differ in males and females.
In the early stages, people often do not see any signs of lung cancer; the symptoms only develop when cancer gets spread.
Lung cancer is the second most prevalent form of cancer in the U. S. And the deadliest. It contributes for more than one-third of all deaths from cancer, around 150,000 in the U. S. every year.[Source]
Even though this deadly disease kills millions of people every year, it is not a death sentence. An early diagnosis can increase the chances of survival significantly.
Signs of Lung Cancer
In this post, we have shared the most common signs and first symptoms of lung cancer that you should know-
1. Sudden Weight Loss
Did you drop a few kgs without any workout or change in your diet? Just like any other type of cancer, lung cancer can also lead to sudden weight loss.
A sudden lack of appetite and losing too much weight are the warning signs that something is wrong with your body. When your body recognizes a tumor, it works hard and spends more calories to heal it.
The medical term for this condition is cachexia, and in severe cases, it can cause the body to waste away because it eats the body fat for energy.
2. Blood in the Phlegm
People with lung cancer will cough up blood if cancer has spread to the bronchi. Even though a variety of reasons can cause blood in the sputum, but nobody should ignore it.
Often, coughing up blood is accompanied by other symptoms like fever and pain in the chest. If you observe rust-colored phlegm without any explanation, then see a doctor as soon as possible.
3. Shortness of Breath
You might have experienced shortness of breath after climbing a set of stairs or doing some heavy physical activity.
However, if you suddenly find yourself short of breath without any apparent reason, this can be a warning sign of something serious.
Even though many possible reasons can cause labored breathing, you should immediately examine yourself if it happens with other apparent symptoms.
4. Prolonged Cough
A cough that keeps getting worse over time and doesn’t go away even after medication is a significant warning sign of lung cancer.
Unfortunately, many people think that this symptom is cold or some other allergy, making them ignore it.
Cough that is related to lung cancer can sometimes be dry or productive. This kind of cough is present during the days and tends to get even worse during the night.
The majority of people who are suffering from lung cancer have a cough, which is accompanied by blood. If you have a cough with rust-colored mucus, then visit an expert as early as possible.
5. Chest Pain
One of the most obvious signs of lung cancer in men and women both is chronic pain in the chest, which gets intense while breathing or even laughing.
If cancer spreads to other parts of the body, then those areas are likely to be affected by ache and discomfort. If this pain progresses to your shoulders and back, then talk to your doctor for examination.
6. Hoarseness and Wheezing
Hoarseness or wheezing could occasionally be a sign of cancer in the lungs. If you observe any sudden changes in your breathing pattern, it’s crucial to get yourself checked out by a doctor.
7. Night Sweats or Prolonged Fever
There can be other causes for these symptoms; however, they can be a reason for concern if other persistent signs accompany them.
8. Bone Pain
If lung cancer has progressed to other organs in your body, you may feel pain in your bones and joints.
Even though back pain might not seem related to cancer in the lungs, but as per many oncologists, it can be a prominent early sign.
9. Swelling in the Neck and Face
When the lung cancer spreads, it starts pressing against the superior vena cava, which is the large blood vessel returning blood to the heart.
This makes your neck and face swell. If you observe such swelling, then do not delay talking to your Doctor.
10. Too Much Fatigue
We all get tired from time to time, but if you feel exhausted without participating in any physical activity accompanied by other symptoms discussed in the post, get yourself checked by an expert.
Fatigue-related to lung cancer is often different, as it seems like whole-body fatigue.
Yes, fatigue can be caused by other reasons as well, but in any case, it is essential to ensure with a doctor first.
Other Early Symptoms of Lung Cancer
- Lung cancer can make substances similar to hormones in your body, disturbing the level of minerals. For instance, in a few cases, too much calcium gets released into the blood. It is essential to keep an eye on high calcium, excessive thirst, constipation, and dizziness.
- Cancer of the lungs can weaken your muscles and organs in the body. Weakness in the hips, arms, shoulders, legs, and other body parts is typical.
- Frequent infections can also be a red flag pointing at lung cancer.
- A fracture in the bone after a small injury can also sign that cancer in the lungs has spread. This should always be investigated thoroughly for the possibility of any cancer.
- Pain in fingers can be an early sign of lung cancer that should not be overlooked.
- Mood swings, anger, and depression, followed by fatigue and exhaustion, can be typical for lung cancer patients.
- Soreness or tenderness in the rib cage near the armpits can also be related to lung cancer.
- Enlarged lymph nodes are other visible signs of lung cancer in male and female both. You can feel the swollen lymph nodes by checking under your collarbones.
Always remember that early diagnosis can save your life, and also prevention is better than cure.
Smoking can increase the chances of developing lung cancer in men and women both, so it is advised to let go of such a deadly habit for a safer and healthier life.