Lung cancer may not produce clear symptoms at an early stage, and many people are undiagnosed until the disease progresses.
Read on to learn more about the symptoms of lung cancer, what to watch for and listen to, and how early screening can help people at high risk for this disease.
1. The cough won’t stop
Be aware of the new cough that remains. Cough associated with a flu or respiratory infection will disappear within a week or so, but persistent cough which remains a symptom of lung cancer.
Do not be tempted to ignore a loud cough, if it is dry or produce mucus, immediately see your doctor. They will check your lungs and can order X-rays or other tests.
2. Change in cough
Watch for chronic cough changes, especially if you smoke. If you are coughing more, cough deeper or the cough sounds hoarse, or you cough up blood or produce unusual mucus, it’s time to make a medical appointment.
If a family member or friend is experiencing these changes, you should advise them visiting the doctor.
3. Respiratory changes
Shortness of breath is also a possibility of lung cancer symptoms. Respiratory changes can occur if there is a blockage in the airways or narrow airway or if fluid from lung tumors accumulates in the chest.
Make a medical appointment when you feel faint or panting. If it’s hard to breathe after climbing the stairs or doing a task you’ve found easy, do not just ignore it.
4. Pain in the chest area
Lung cancer can produce pain in the chest, shoulders or back. The feeling of pain cannot be attributed to coughing. Tell your doctor if you notice what type of chest pain is, whether sharp, dull, constant or intermittent.
You should also pay attention to whether it is confined to a particular area or what happens on your chest. When lung cancer causes chest pain, discomfort can occur due to enlarged lymph nodes or metastases to the chest wall, lining the lungs, called pleura or ribs.
When the airways become narrow, clogged or inflamed, the lungs produce a tense or whistling sound as they breathe. Wheezing can be linked to many causes, some of which are benign and easy to treat.
However, wheezing is also a symptom of lung cancer, so it deserves the attention of doctors. Do not assume that the breath is caused by asthma or allergies. Tell your doctor to confirm the cause.
6. Hoarse voice
If you hear a significant change of voice or if others indicate that your voice sounds deeper, buzzing or hoarse, checked by your doctor. Hoarseness can be caused by a mild fever, but these symptoms may indicate something more serious if it persists for more than two weeks.
Hoarseness associated with lung cancer can occur when the tumor affects the nerves that control the larynx or the voice box.
7. Weight loss
An unexplained weight loss of 10 kilograms or more may be associated with lung cancer or other types of cancer. When cancer is present, this weight loss can result from cancer cells that use energy. It can also come from a shift in how the body uses energy from food.
Do not ignore your weight changes if you are not trying to shed pounds. These may be clues to your health change.
8. Bone pain
Lung cancer that has spread to the bone can produce pain in the back or in other areas of the body. This pain can worsen overnight while resting on the back. It is difficult to distinguish bone and muscle pain. Bone pain often worsens at night and increases with movement.
In addition, lung cancer is sometimes associated with pain in the shoulders, arms, or neck, although this is less common. Be aware of pain and illness and discuss with your doctor.
Headaches can be a sign that lung cancer has spread to the brain. However, not all headaches are associated with brain metastases. Sometimes, lung tumors can cause pressure on the upper venous veins.
This is the big blood vessel that moves the blood from the upper body to the heart. Pressure can also cause headaches.
Simple screening may help
Chest X-ray is not effective in detecting cancer in the lung. However, low-dose CT scans have been shown to reduce lung cancer death rates by 20%, according to a study in 2011.
In the study, 53,454 people at high risk for lung cancer were randomly assigned a low-dose CT or X-ray scan.
Low-dose CT scans have detected many cases of lung cancer. There are also significantly fewer deaths from this disease in low-dose CT groups.
Causes of lung cancer
Smoking and asbestos exposure has been linked with lung cancer. If you happen to live in an old house in Adelaide, there is a high possibility that your house contains asbestos.
To ensure the health of your family and neighbors, contact a professional removalist to perform asbestos removal Adelaide Hills, SA.