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Lung cancer

What Are The Symptoms of Lung Cancer?

The symptoms of lung cancer vary with the extent of spread of the cancerous lump. The earlier indications of cancer in the initial stages are not very conspicuous to be noticed in prognosis. The preliminary phase of tumor might not afflict any pain to the patient. With the advancement of the disease, different symptoms begin to show up gradually. Following are the major signals of lung cancer:

  • No palpable pain initially – Lung cancer in its rudimentary stages goes unnoticed most of the time because it does not cause any remarkable pain. X-ray scanning may reveal the presence of tumor in the lung which should create suspicion during diagnosis.

  • Symptoms in initial and advanced stages – As the cancer begins to extend its presence in the lung tissues and the adjacent tissues, frequent cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, pain in the chest, vomiting the blood are usually noticed. If the cancer has spread to shoulder nerves, it may cause shoulder pain that may extend to the entire length of the arm. When it spreads to vocal cords, the voice might get hoarse resulting in paralysis of vocal cords. If any of the branches of windpipe is either fully or partly blocked due to metastasis, the flow of oxygen is considerably obstructed and eventually the lung may collapse. If the oesophagus or food pipe is invaded by lung cancer, the passage of chewed food is clogged up rendering the swallowing very painful.

  • Invasion to bones – When the lung cancer spreads to bones, the pain at the site of attack is tormentative.

  • Spreading to brain – In the case of brain invaded by lung cancer, blurred vision, nausea, headaches, vertigo, internal bleeding in cranial cavity, numbness in limbs, brain-stroke are the possibilities.

    Lung Cancer

  • Production of ACTH hormone – Secretion of Adrenocorticotrophic hormone is common with Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC) by adrenal glands resulting in excessive undesirable levels/quantities of calcium in blood stream, known as Cushing’s syndrome.
  • Psychological disorders – Swings of mood and depression are noticed.

  • General symptoms – Fatigue, loss of weight, weakness may also be observed.

For diagnosing the lung cancer, the exact location of source of cancerous cells, the extent of spread of cancer, the type of lung cancer (SCLC or non- SCLC) need to be determined which would facilitate the selection of appropriate method of treatment. The symptoms like incessant cough, wheezing, cough accompanied by vomiting blood, shortened breath, chest pain should prompt the patient to consult a doctor immediately for verification of possible existence of lung cancer.

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