Lung cancer cannot be caught in the early stages since there are no clear symptoms of this disease. Many patients who suffer from lung cancer are usually diagnosed when the cancer is already developed.
Often, the diagnosis comes when the cancer is at stage 3. Therefore, it is extremely important to notice the signs that may indicate the presence of the disease before it progresses since the treatment is more effective in the earlier stages.
Early stage lung cancer cannot be diagnosed by a simple chest X-ray. Only computer tomography scans are effective. The computer tomography scan allows the number of lung cancer fatalities to be reduced.
Therefore, medical professionals advise people with high risk of developing cancer to check themselves with a CT scan. People at high risk of developing lung cancer are usually between the age of 55 and 79, smokers for 30 years or more or passionate smokers for 15 years.
Symptoms of lung cancer
- Chronic and unusual coughs
Tests should be done if you are coughing in an unusual way or if you have a chronic cough. The signs may be coughing up mucus in large amounts, coughing blood or deep sound coughing. Any person who notices these signs should visit a medical professional.
- Harsh sounding voice
Many smokers have harsh sounding voice and this is because of the damage of the nerve which manages the voice box or larynx. Often, this is caused by pressure on the nerve caused by a tumor. Visit the doctor’s office if your voice sounds harsh, deep and raspier suddenly.
Often, this problem is not a sign of lung cancer, yet if the voice is harsh-sounding for more than 15 days it may be an indication of a problem.
- Weight loss
Cancer cells grow and regenerate by draining our energy much more faster than the other cells of the body. Our body is left without enough energy and even 10 pounds may be lost in short time.
- Pain and tenderness of the bones
Lung cancer can easily affect the bones causing tenderness of the bones and back pain. The pain is greater among cancer patients who sleep on their back. Rarely, lung cancer can also cause neck pain, shoulder pain and arm pain. Consult a doctor if you notice unusual pain in your bones.
Lung cancer affects the brain and may cause a headache to appear. The pain may not be caused only by metastases in the brain. Instead, the lung cancer may pressure the vena cava or larger vein that transports blood from the upper body to the heart. This pressure on the vena cava causes headaches.
- Difficulty breathing
The development of the lung cancer narrows and blocks the airway. The amount of fluids around the chest increase as well. This leads to difficulty in breathing. Simple everyday activities such as climbing the stairs will frequently cause shortness of breath. Contact a doctor for a checkup.
- Pain in the chest
Lung cancer can cause chest, back and shoulder pain. Both temporary and permanent pain may be signs of lung cancer. You should also try to notice whether the pain comes from a particular point or from the entire chest area. Chest pain is caused by metastasis to the lining of the lung, the ribs and the chest, or by extended lymph nodes.
- Persistent and continuous coughs
Coughs caused by colds or other infections of the respiratory system may last for 7 to 14 days. However, long continuous and persistent coughs that don’t change in intensity may be a sign of lung cancer. The absence or presence of mucus when coughing is not important.
- Whistling sounds
Different health problems may cause wheezing or whistling sound when coughing. This appears because the airway is tightened, blocked or inflamed. However, this sound may also be a symptom of a lung cancer presence.