Lung cancer is one of the deadliest forms of the disease. Contrary to what many presume, it doesn’t just affect those who smoke. That’s why it’s very important to know the signs of lung cancer.
Non-smokers also frequently develop this deadly form of cancer. This is because we’re all exposed to other factors that may trigger it, such as:
- Air pollution
- Passive smoking
- Exposure to carcinogenic chemicals such as asbestos and radon
Chest pain is one of the main symptoms. However, you should not overlook the other signs of lung cancer, which are less well-known.
Depending on what stage the disease is at, you may experience some of the symptoms we set out below.
Confusion Surrounding the Warning Signs of Lung Cancer
Many complaints that may be a warning of this type of cancer often go unnoticed initially or are confused with another disease.
Frequently, the symptoms are attributed to a common cold or to fatigue that results from physical exertion.
However, if you’re able to take note of these first symptoms immediately and seek medical help, it will greatly increase the effectiveness of treatment.
The symptoms to look out for are:
1. Persistent Cough
This is usually a dry cough. However, it can sometimes be accompanied by blood. Other people will notice a thick, reddish mucus being produced.
If you have a cough that lasts more than a month and you notice that your voice is hoarser or deeper than usual, it’s a good idea to go to a respiratory specialist as soon as possible. The specialist should perform a series of tests to rule out the possibility of lung cancer.
Many people ignore this symptom simply because it can be a pain ato get the tests done, especially if you think you’re healthy. But just bear in mind that the sooner you take the plunge, the sooner you’ll be able to get rid of any lingering doubts.
Have you been noticing that you’re suffering from bronchitis or other infections more often without an obvious cause? If this is the case, you should ask your doctor to investigate the problem in more detail.
Something in particular that should set alarm bells ringing is chest pain, which isn’t a common part of bronchitis and similar infections.
- It’s very common to assume that such chest pain is related to heart problems.
- If your cardiologist has already ruled this out, be sure to get your doctor to evaluate your lungs.
3. Weight loss
If you’ve lost weight recently without making any changes to your diet or within taking up a new exercise regime, you should stop to think about why this might have happened.
Although it may seem like something you may welcome, it’s important to bear in mind that it could be a sign of a problem with your body.
4. Bone pain
This is one of the signs of lung cancer that usually makes itself felt once the disease has already spread to other parts of the body. Usually, the back and the hips are the areas that are affected.
Some people tend to view bone pain as a common and unremarkable complaint, especially because of their age. However, no matter how old you are, you should always make sure that the bone pain is not a sign of a more serious problem.
5. Inflammation of the neck and face
This occurs when the tumor increases the amount of pressure on the vena cava, the vein that’s responsible for transporting blood from your head and arms back to your heart.
Inflammation of the neck and face occurs because the blood flow is slower than it should be. In this case, you’ll notice that you’re not able to get rid of the inflammation or swelling with massages or other techniques.
6. Muscular weakness
This symptom of lung cancer can affect your hips, the arms, the shoulders or the legs. It’s common to notice weakness and lack of strength that make your day-to-day activities more difficult.
7. High calcium levels
Some forms of lung cancer cause higher levels of calcium to be released into the bloodstream. This produces the following symptoms:
- Frequent urination
- Excessive thirst
- Stomach ache
The only way to find out whether these symptoms are related to lung cancer is with a blood test.
8. Labored Breathing
Have you started snoring a lot? Are you having difficulty performing simple tasks that used to be a breeze? Does walking moderately quickly leave you breathless, even though it had never been a problem before?
Lung cancer affects aerobic capacity. If you’re noticing any of these changes, you should go to your doctor right away to perform some tests.
Only a medical professional can determine if you’re suffering from a more serious problem, or if labored breathing is the result of age or a lack of physical activity.
Be Aware of Any Unexpected Changes
As you can see, many of these may be a symptom of another problem apart from lung cancer.
It’s important that you stay alert to any changes in your body that are not the product of a change in diet, physical activity or medication.
As soon as you become aware of any of these changes, you should ho to your doctor’s office and ask them to evaluate what’s behind the changes.
Hopefully, it will just be a false alarm. However, it could also give you the opportunity to detect another disease in good time.
In addition, keep in mind that cancer is a disease whose early diagnosis greatly increases the chances of successful treatment.
You should also try to keep away from known carcinogens that will increase your risk of developing cancer, such as tobacco smoke and other harmful chemicals.