Commonly, lung cancer occurs when abnormal cells start to grow and divide in one or both lungs. In most instances, these unhealthy tissues end up causing a tumor in the lungs. Usually, the lung cancer is classified broadly into two types, the small (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCL). Apart from genetics, lung cancer is common in patients with a long history of smoking tobacco or being exposed to secondhand smoke.
In most cases, you might not encounter noticeable symptoms during the early stages of lung cancer. According to research, almost 70% of lung cancers are difficult to diagnose in the early stages. This is why it’s wise to understand its symptoms of lung cancer for early medical attention and diagnosis:
1. Chronic cough
A standard cough that usually is associated with a cold, which disappears in a period of one or two weeks. If you experience a lingering cough, whether dry or wet, you should visit a doctor, for it could be lung cancer.
2. Shortness of breath
It is okay to experience a breath shortage when undertaking a stressful activity, such as running. However, when a tumor develops in your lungs, it narrows the airways. You are likely to experience shortness of breath while just walking, climbing stairs, or even relaxing.
3. Coughing up phlegm with blood
If you experience a cough with blood, even a small amount, you should immediately visit a doctor for a checkup. With lung cancer, often a cough with blood occurs when the tumor is close to the bronchi.
4. Chest or shoulder pain
Chest pain are not always associated with cough, for instance you might encounter chest, shoulder, or even backache when the lymph nodes are swollen. Chest pain can occur at a specific spot or throughout the chest. Sometimes, it might be challenging to differentiate between muscle pain and cancer-related pains in the shoulder. Usually, cancer-related pain often gets worse during the night.
Fatigue is one of the acute and early symptoms of lung cancer. According to the doctors, 90% of lung cancer patients encounter tiredness and weakness during the treatment period due to a lack of enough energy in the body.
6. Weight loss
Most people take weight loss as a good thing. However, unexplained weight loss should be an alarm to your health. If you experience sudden and unexplained weght loss (i.e., up to 10 pounds,)it could be a sign of cancer cells consuming energy in your body.
7. Change of voice
Your voice may sound raspy, hoarse, or have high pitched. When you have lung cancer, it affects the nerves, which trigger the movement of vocal cords.