Lung cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the lungs and can spread to other parts of the body. It is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, accounting for about one-fifth of all cancer deaths. Lung cancer often has no symptoms in its early stages, and by the time symptoms appear, the cancer may have already spread. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of lung cancer and to seek medical attention if you experience any of them. In this answer, we will discuss the symptoms of lung cancer that you should look out for.
Persistent cough: A cough that persists for more than two to three weeks, or a change in a chronic cough, can be a sign of lung cancer. The cough may be dry or produce phlegm, and may worsen over time.
Shortness of breath: Difficulty breathing, wheezing or feeling short of breath can occur due to a blockage or narrowing of the airways by the tumor.
Chest pain: Pain in the chest, shoulder or back that worsens with coughing, laughing or deep breathing can be a sign of lung cancer.
Hoarseness: A hoarse or raspy voice that persists for more than two weeks can be a symptom of lung cancer, due to the tumor pressing on the vocal cords or nerves that control them.
Unexplained weight loss: A sudden and unexplained weight loss of 10 pounds or more can be a symptom of lung cancer.
Fatigue: Feeling tired, weak, or lacking in energy can also be a symptom of lung cancer.
Loss of appetite: A decreased appetite and difficulty eating can occur due to the tumor pressing on the esophagus or due to the side effects of cancer treatment.
Finger clubbing: A change in the shape of the fingers, where the tips of the fingers become wider and rounder, can be a sign of lung cancer.
Bone pain: Lung cancer that has spread to the bones can cause pain in the back, hips, or other areas.
Headache: Lung cancer that has spread to the brain can cause headaches, seizures, or other neurological symptoms.
It is important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, and not everyone with lung cancer experiences all of these symptoms. However, if you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible.
In addition to the above symptoms, there are risk factors that can increase the likelihood of developing lung cancer. These risk factors include:
Smoking: Smoking is the biggest risk factor for lung cancer, accounting for about 85% of all cases.
Exposure to secondhand smoke: Even if you are not a smoker, exposure to secondhand smoke can increase your risk of lung cancer.
Exposure to radon: Radon is a naturally occurring gas that can build up in homes and other buildings, and exposure to high levels of radon can increase the risk of lung cancer.
Exposure to asbestos and other carcinogens: Exposure to asbestos, diesel exhaust, and other carcinogens can increase the risk of lung cancer.
Family history of lung cancer: If a close family member has had lung cancer, your risk may be increased.
In conclusion, lung cancer can be a deadly disease, and it is important to be aware of the symptoms and risk factors. If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above or have any concerns about your risk of lung cancer, see a doctor as soon as possible. Early detection and treatment can improve the chances of successful treatment and recovery.