Over 7 million die from cancer each year. Lung Cancer is one of the most common, and deadliest, forms of cancer that affect both men and women. This makes lung cancer a double blow. The key to treating any type of cancer is, of course, early detection. Here are a few signs to look out for if you think that you may have lung cancer:
1. Pain in the chest area
You will experience pain in your chest, near your ribcage, if you have lung cancer. This pain can occur suddenly and get worse over time. It cannot be explained by an accident or some type of trauma. The pain will likely get worse when you take deep breaths, cough, or laugh. Contact your doctor immediately if you feel unexplained pain in this area.
2. Fatigue, or general weakness
Many conditions cause chronic fatigue. You cannot diagnose lung cancer with this symptom alone, but it is a sign that something might be wrong with your body. When combined with these other symptoms, it can point towards lung cancer.
3. Persistent or bloody coughing
Coughing up blood is a major sign that something is wrong with your lungs. This is a common symptom of lung cancer, although some people may only experience an increase in phlegm when coughing or a persistent, dry cough. If you notice any change when coughing, it is important to visit a doctor.
4. Appetite and weight loss
This is another symptom that is listed for a number of conditions. Doctors are always alarmed when a patient has experience a major change in appetite or weight. The term “major” is important here. Make sure that you monitor any of these changes to see if you can find another reason for them.
5. Frequent respiratory infections
If you contract chronic phenomena, bronchitis, or other respiratory infections, something is messing with the systems in your body. Lung cancer can often cause these types of problems. Your doctor may suggest that you participate in comprehensive tests to learn why you keep getting infections.
6. Shortness of breath, or wheezing
Everyone has had shortness of breath at some time in their lives. Breathing problems that occur suddenly, frequently, and won’t go away is a sign that something else is wrong beneath the surface. A more troubling sign of respiratory problems is a persistent wheezing. Try not to put too much strain on your respiratory system when you experience these symptoms.
A hoarse voice can be caused by many things. Again, you should be looking for symptoms that arise for no reason in conjunction with other symptoms. An unusual hoarseness that cannot be soothed can be quite painful and is reason enough to see a healthcare professional.
Any major mood changes can be signs of serious health issues. It is no wonder that many lung cancer patients experience depression that increases with their physical pain. If you or someone else you know is experiencing depression, be sure to seek out someone who can help.
9. Abnormal breast growth
A less common, but still troubling, symptom of lung cancer is abnormal breast growth. This can occur in woman, but it is usually observed in men. This is caused by hormonal changes in the body.
10. Thickened, painful fingertips
Most people won’t experience a change in their fingertips, but it’s an easy symptom to spot. This symptom is normally attributed to arthritis, but it is also associated with lung cancer. It is caused when your fingers don’t get enough oxygen. This symptom is quite painful, decrease your motor skills, and is always a sign that something is wrong with your body. Be sure to respond to this symptom immediately.
11. Nervous system changes
It’s important to inform your doctor when your experience any major changes concerning your nervous system. These changes can include: headaches, dizziness, weakness, numbness in your arms or legs, balances problems, and even seizures. Do not take them symptoms lightly. They can be extremely dangerous.
12. Bone pain
If the cancer has spread from your lungs to another part of your body, you will likely feel pain in your bones. Most patients complain about pain in their hip or lower back. Look out for these signs and make sure to take note of any new pain you experience when dealing with cancer.
Another common symptom that your lung cancer has spread is jaundice. It is not easily missed. Jaundice occurs when you have usually high counts of certain elements in your blood. It will cause your skin to take on a yellowish ting.
14. Enlarged lymph nodes
If your lung cancer spreads to your skin or your lymphatic system, your lymph nodes will become enlarged. They will appear as lumps just under your skin. They can in various places, but are most notably found on your neck or just above your collarbone. They can be tender to the touch, so handle them with care and tell your doctor about them immediately.