Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women and the leading cause of death from cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. You may be surprised to know that 20 percent of lung cancer deaths occur in people who do not smoke.
The American Cancer Society explains that air pollution, secondhand smoke, radon gas, and cancer-causing agents that include asbestos and diesel exhaust are major risk factors for lung cancer.
The best defense against lung cancer is to know the early signs and symptoms. The earlier lung cancer is diagnosed, the greater the chances of survival and recovery. Keep reading to find out the early signs and symptoms of lung cancer.
1. Frequent Illness
If you notice a disorder in the frequency of illnesses such as colds, flu, bronchitis, or pneumonia, talk to your doctor about possible causes of your depressed immune system. Doctors say that when cancer settles in the lung tissue and bronchial tubes, the lungs become more susceptible to disease.
2. Unexplained weight loss
If you have lost interest in food or are feeling full quickly after you start eating, lung cancer may take a toll on your appetite. It is recommended to keep a notebook to record symptoms and possible causes, such as food poisoning, food allergies, PMS in women, or gastrointestinal diseases. If the cause is unexplained, consult your doctor.
3. Finger pain
Thickened, painful fingertips are a typical symptom of lung cancer. This is because lung tumors release chemicals into the bloodstream that stimulate the growth of bones and tissues in the fingertips and under the fingernails. Tell your doctor about any thickening, swelling, or clubbing in your fingers.
4. Torso pain
Persistent dull pain in the chest, shoulders, back, or abdomen may be due to pressure from the lung tumor. Chest pain is a symptom in one in four lung cancer patients.
5. Hoarse voice
If your voice sounds a bit husky, or if you feel pain when swallowing or talking – especially if it is accompanied by a persistent cough, wheezing or coughing up blood, it’s time to see a doctor. These symptoms may indicate lung cancer.
6. Shortness of breath
Women too often misdiagnose this symptom as an effect of age or inactivity. However, according to doctors, shortness of breath is a sign of adenocarcinoma, the most common form of lung cancer in women.
7. Weakness in the upper limbs
According to doctors, upper limb weakness, loss of coordination, and muscle cramps can be a symptom of paraneoplastic syndrome, a condition associated with lung cancer in which hormone-like substances are secreted by tumors.
8. Breast growth in men
A lesser-known symptom in male patients with lung cancer is breast enlargement around and under the nipple. Doctors explain that this is a symptom of paraneoplastic syndrome, caused by the release of hormones, proteins, and other substances into the bloodstream.