14 Warning Signs of Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is sadly all-too-familiar to many of us, mainly because it’s one of the most common types of cancer worldwide. The World Cancer Research Fund notes that there were about 2.1 million cases and 1.8 million deaths in 2018, with the majority of these cases coming from Hungary.

What is the survival rate for lung cancer?

More than half of people succumb to lung cancer within a year of diagnosis, making it one of the deadliest cancers.

So if you notice any of these happening more frequently, you might want to check up with your doctor immediately…

1. Strong Hacking Cough

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Strong, persistent coughing that lasts beyond 3 weeks is one of the earliest signs of lung cancer. Health Union attributes these coughs to tumors stimulating airway receptors. They could also be due to the body’s natural inflammatory response, which likewise stimulates the airway nerves. 

Not only is lung cancer persistent, but it can be frighteningly messy as well…

2. Coughing Up Blood

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Lung cancer coughs are often accompanied by what is known as hemoptysis, the bleeding of the airways. Hemoptysis results in discharging bloody or rust-colored phlegm. This symptom is also present in other cases like bronchitis, pneumonia, and tuberculosis (TB). 

If the bloody coughs weren’t bad enough, our next symptom makes everything else even more uncomfortable…

3. Constant Chest Pains

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Breathing, coughing, and even laughing can hurt with these chest pains. This sharp, dull pain is caused by factors like tumors and enlarged lymph nodes blocking the lungs.

The coughing and the chest pains are often accompanied by something breathtaking (definitely not the good kind)…

4. Dyspnea (Breathlessness)

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Breathing can be challenging for lung cancer patients. When a lung cancer tumor blocks a major airway, it could cause shortness of breath and a tight feeling in your chest. This symptom may occur both during physical activity and resting.

Our next condition might sound a bit funny, but it’s definitely no laughing matter…

5. Wheezing

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Aside from breathlessness, the blockage of the airways can also cause wheezing, a whistling sound made by the lungs when you breathe. While it can be seen in some less-threatening conditions, it’s often seen as a sign of lung cancer. So it’s important to seek help when this becomes apparent.

Lung cancer does not only affect the lungs. The following symptom proves so…

6. Hoarseness

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Lung cancer tumors can cause pressure on the recurrent laryngeal nerve, which in turn will affect the voice box. This process causes your voice to sound raspy and hoarse. This happens a few days after the initial symptoms start to manifest themselves. 

Snacking will definitely be more tedious with lung cancer…

7. Dysphagia (Painful Swallowing)

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Patients often complain that swallowing food is painful for them. This happens when the lung cancer tumors grow near the esophagus, which can likewise cause pain when the food passes through it on its way to the stomach.

Cancer also affects our metabolism, which causes stark changes in our body…

8. Cachexia

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Metabolic changes called cachexia to cause the body to lose appetite and muscle mass simultaneously. It can either be wrought by lung cancer itself or sometimes by the subsequent treatment like chemotherapy. 

It’s no wonder our next symptom is more severe than ever before…

9. Fatigue

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The effects of fatigue caused by cancer are much more pronounced than ordinary fatigues. Likewise, people who have undergone chemotherapy and radiation therapy have reported suffering fatigue as an aftereffect of such treatments. 

Sometimes lung cancer can affect the least likely places in your body…

10. Shoulder Pain

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Yes, it’s possible! Since the lung cancer tumors might also affect the nerves and spread near the shoulder bones, lung cancer patients may feel a certain pain or weakness in one of the shoulders, particularly while resting.

Stranger symptoms start to become more apparent as well…

11. Finger Clubbing

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A US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health study says that clubbed fingers are a probable sign of lung cancer.  These are caused by the excessive amount of blood flow pumped there

But the swelling doesn’t stop with the fingers… 

12. Facial Swelling

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Lung cancer tumors can also affect our blood flow. Namely, tumors can block blood’s access to the superior vena cava. This blockage makes the blood spread to the other parts of your body, meaning the neck, face, and even the arms swell up from the excess blood flow. 

Lung cancer can make you prone to conditions that affect breathing…

13. Chronic Respiratory Infections

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People with lung cancer may be prone to chronic respiratory disorders such as bronchitis, emphysema, and even pneumonia. These conditions also result from clogged or inflamed airways.

Being the last on our list doesn’t make this condition any less ominous…

14. Pleural Effusions

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Pleural effusions, or “water on the lungs”, form when lung cancer cells begin to spread to the pleural cavity of the lungs. This spread causes the buildup of excess fluid. Doctors often take this symptom as an affirmation that the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

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