The early symptoms of lung cancer you must know
Why is it important to spot the early symptoms of lung cancer? Because
early diagnosis of the disease dramatically improves one's chances of
Consider these facts. When lung cancer is detected at an early stage, the
five year survival rate is around 50%. Compare this with the overall
survival rate for all those diagnosed with lung cancer -- it is less than
This means that there is a huge difference in survival rates between those
who were diagnosed early and those unfortunate enough to be diagnosed at a
later stage when the cancer is far advanced. Late stage lung cancers are
very difficult to treat primarily because the malignancy has spread to
other parts of the body and possibly affected vital organs like the live
and the brain.
In this context, knowing the early symptoms of lung cancer has the
potential to save a life. Consulting a doctor early enough makes a world
of difference to the patient.
The scary part is that fully a quarter of those who have been diagnosed
with this killer disease report no
lung cancer symptoms at all. So how was the disease
detected? Often, through a chest x-ray or a CT scan done as part of a
routine medical checkup or for other medical reasons.
In such cases, the lung cancer is confined to just one small tumor, often
called a coin lesion. This is an early stage of the disease and offers the
best chances of survival. Many doctors offer this possibility of early
detection of tumors as a reason for including a chest x-ray in a routine
The early symptoms of lung cancer
The symptoms are usually linked to the specific region affected by the
cancer. If the lung tissues have been affected, the patient may report
shortness of breath, pain in the chest, an unusually persistent cough,
wheezing, etc that are related to breathing difficulties. In some cases,
the cancer may have spread to other regions away from the bronchia, which
can give rise to other symptoms.
For instance, if the cancer has spread to the esophagus, the patient may
find it difficult to swallow food. Or if the cancer has affected the
nerves, it may cause the patient's voice to become hoarse or even
paralysis of the vocal cords.
A shoulder pain outside the arm may also indicate cancer that has affected
the nerves. Extensive damage to the lung tissues may lead to a collapse of
the lung. It may cause infections inside the lung including pneumonia. It
can also lead to abscesses in the lung.
Many types of cancers including lung cancer show common symptoms like a
sudden, unexplained weight loss, weakness or a feeling of lethargy and
fatigue. The person's mood may change and he or she may show unusual
irritability or depression / anxiety. Other infections may set in because
of a weakened immune system.
Call a doctor if you have any of these signs and symptoms present:
You need to be particularly careful if you are a past or present smoker.
- A cough that doesn't go away or gets worse
- Pain in the chest
- Weight loss for no known reason
- Frequent infections of the respiratory system
- Wheezing / shortness of breath
- Coughing up blood
- Fatigue whether you exert yourself or not
- Bronchitis that does not go away
Keep these early symptoms of lung cancer in mind and make sure you consult
a doctor if you have any cause for concern.