You are on page 1of 14

Symptoms of Localized Lung Cancer Cough is the most common presenting symptom of lung cancer.

er. Some people with lung cancer cough up blood. The medical term for this symptom is hemoptysis. Unintentional weight loss is another common symptom of lung cancer, regardless of whether it has spread beyond the original tumor. Difficult and/or painful breathing (also known as dyspnea), chest pain, and wheezing are also common complaints Difficulty swallowing or dysphagia can be caused by regional lymph node enlargement or a lung tumor pressing against the esophagus, which carries food from the mouth to the stomach. Shoulder pain, with or without arm and hand numbness and weakness, can be the presenting symptom of lung cancer in the uppermost part of the lung, the apex. Facial swelling and prominence of the neck and chest veins can indicate a lung cancer compressing a large vein leading to the right side of the heart. Although these symptoms are not present in most people with regionally advanced lung cancer, their presence should lead to a suspicion of lung cancer

Symptoms of Distant Lung Cancer Metastases Lung cancer can spread to virtually any organ of the body. The most common sites of metastasis are the brain, liver, bones, and adrenal glands.

Symptoms of Brain Metastases Severe headaches, uncontrollable vomiting, and seizures are symptoms associated with increased pressure in the brain that can be caused by a growing tumor and/or brain swelling. Weakness or paralysis that is limited to a specific area of the body may indicate a tumor in the area of the brain that controls the affected part of the body. Changes in vision, difficulty speaking or swallowing, loss of balance or coordination, and confusion are all possible symptoms associated with metastatic brain disease. Symptoms of Bone Metastases Pain is the most common symptom associated with bone metastases from lung cancer. The pain can range from mild to severe. Any bone in the body can be involved in lung cancer spread. Bone pain that is not associated with a recent injury or fall is particularly suggestive of possible metastatic disease. Some people are diagnosed with lung cancer after experiencing a pathological bone fracture. A pathological fracture is a bone break that occurs because a tumor has eroded away the involved bone. These fractures typically occur without any history of a fall or an impact, or are associated with a minor impact that would not normally cause a bone to break.

Symptoms of Liver Metastases The liver is enclosed in a capsule that has little capacity to expand. Therefore, tumors in the liver that stretch this capsule cause pain. The pain is typically located on the right side of the body in the area below the ribs. If the tumors interfere with the function of the liver, there can be many other symptoms associated with liver metastases from primary lung cancer.

Symptoms of Adrenal Metastases The adrenal glands are small organs that sit on top of the kidneys. The adrenal glands produce hormones that have effects throughout the body. Adrenal metastases from primary lung cancer are often silent, meaning they do not produce symptoms. The most common symptom associated with adrenal metastases is pain caused by tumor growth or sudden bleeding into the gland. The pain is typically located in the back, around waist-level, to the right or left of the spine depending upon the location of the tumor

Other Symptoms Associated With Lung Cancer Approximately 10-20% of people with lung cancer have paraneoplastic syndromes. These are signs and symptoms of the disease that are not caused by the tumors themselves, but by substances produced by the tumors. These syndromes can affect several organs of the body, and cause a wide variety of signs and symptoms. A list of some of the many symptoms that can occur in paraneoplastic syndromes includes:

loss of appetite and weight loss altered sense of taste fever fatigue muscle weakness with or without tenderness itchy skin or rashes constipation or diarrhea edema (swelling caused by fluid accumulation especially in the feet and ankles)

Medical History Your medical history gives your doctor important information that helps him or her think through possible causes of your symptoms. Pieces of information from your medical history your doctor will probably consider include: your personal smoking history and exposure to second-hand smoke, any problems youve had with your lungs in the past, when your current symptoms started, and how they have changed over time, your job history and/or exposure to potential lung carcinogens, and a family history of lung cancer or other epithelial cell cancers. Depending on your presenting symptoms, your doctor may ask other questions about your medical history. Try to be as accurate and truthful as possible when reporting your medical history.

Physical Examination The physical examination is a crucial part of the diagnostic process for any medical problem. Important physical findings in someone who may have lung cancer include: fever abnormal breath sounds in the lungs swollen lymph nodes tenderness and/or enlargement of the liver tenderness in the flank area (over the kidney) swelling in the hands, feet, face, or ankles tenderness over any bones generalized or regional muscle weakness skin changes such as rashes, dark areas, or a blue tint of the lips and nails any findings that might indicate a primary tumor in a body organ other than the lungs

Symptoms of Lung Cancer


Its important to report any unusual physical feelings to your doctor. Often, these unusual feelings can be attributed to other causes, such as bronchitis. But a doctor should check anything that is unusual or worrisome. The signs and symptoms of lung cancer can take years to develop and they may not appear until the disease is advanced. Symptoms of lung cancer that are in the chest: respiratory system

Coughing, especially if it persists or becomes intense Pain in the chest, shoulder, or back unrelated to pain from coughing A change in color or volume of sputum Shortness of breath Changes in the voice or being hoarse Harsh sounds with each breath (stridor) Recurrent lung problems, such as bronchitis or pneumonia Coughing up phlegm or mucus, especially if it is tinged with blood Coughing up blood If the original lung cancer has spread, a person may feel symptoms in other places in the body. Common places for lung cancer to spread include other parts of the lungs, lymph nodes, bones, brain, liver, and adrenal glands. Symptoms of lung cancer that may occur elsewhere in the body:

Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss Muscle wasting (also known as cachexia) Fatigue Headaches, bone or joint pain Bone fractures not related to accidental injury Neurological symptoms, such as unsteady gait or memory loss Neck or facial swelling General weakness Bleeding Blood clots

One fourth of all people with lung cancer have no symptoms when the cancer is diagnosed . These cancers are usually identified incidentally when a chest X-ray is performed for another reason. The other three fourths of people develop some symptoms. The symptoms are due to direct effects of the primary tumor; to effects of cancer spread to other parts of the body (metastases); or to disturbances of hormones, blood, or other systems. Symptoms of lung cancer include cough, coughing up blood or rusty-colored phlegm, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, recurrent respiratory infections, hoarseness, new wheezing, and shortness of breath. A new cough in a smoker or a former smoker should raise concern for lung cancer. A cough that does not go away or gets worse over time should be evaluated by a health care provider. Coughing up blood (hemoptysis) occurs in a significant number of people who have lung cancer. Any amount of coughed-up blood should be evaluated by a health care provider. Pain in the chest area is a symptom in about one fourth of people with lung cancer. The pain is dull, aching, and persistent. Shortness of breath usually results from a blockage in part of the lung, collection of fluid around the lung (pleural effusion), or the spread of tumor through the lungs. Wheezing or hoarseness may signal blockage or inflammation in the lungs that may go along with cancer. Repeated respiratory infections, such as bronchitis or pneumonia, can be a sign of lung cancer.

What are the Symptoms of Lung Cancer?


1. Cough: it is mostly manifested as irritable dry cough. 2. Low heat: accompanied by obstructive pneumonia or atelectasis , some patients may appear low heat, chest distress. Those symptoms will relieve after administration. 3. Chest pain: it is not significant in the early stage of lung cancer, so it may be manifested as oppressive pain, dull pain with uncertain position and its relationship with breathing is uncertain. If the pain continues to occur, there is possibility that pleura are involved. In addition, blood in sputum is often a symptom of lung cancer. The tumor can cause some damage to capillaries, so when coughing, a small amount of blood will appear, which usually mixes with sputum and occurs intermittently. Just because of hemoptysis, most patients are diagnosed with lung cancer

What causes lung cancer?

Smoking Although lung cancer can develop in patients who never smoked, 87 percent of lung cancer cases are caused by smoking. This makes smoking the leading cause of lung cancer. Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 different chemicals, many of which are proven to be carcinogens. These substances damage the cells in the lungs and over time the damaged cells may become cancerous, leading to lung cancer. The likelihood that a smoker will develop lung cancer is affected by how early they start smoking, how long they have smoked, and how many cigarettes they smoke per day. It is also affected by how deeply they inhale the smoke.

Important information about lung cancer:

Stopping smoking at any time reduces a person's risk for developing lung cancer. Cigar and pipe smokers also have a higher risk of lung cancer than non-smokers. Second-hand smoking or environmental exposure to tobacco smoke (also known as passive smoking) increases the persons risk for developing lung cancer. Radon Radon occurs naturally in soil and rock and can cause lung damage that can in turn lead to cancer of the lungs. Radon exposure can occur in people who work in mines. This radioactive, odorless and tasteless gas can also be found in some homes, schools and workplaces. The EPA estimates that nearly one out of every 15 homes in the U.S. has indoor radon levels at or above the level at which homeowners should take action -- 4 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L) on a yearly average.

There are tests that help detect radon in homes and buildings and the problem can be fixed. It is important to know that smoking increases the risk of lung cancer even more in individuals who had radon exposure. Asbestos Asbestos fibers are a group of minerals used in industries such as ship building, insulation work and brake repair. Workers who have been exposed to large amounts of asbestos have a three- to four-fold higher risk of developing lung cancer than those who have not been exposed to asbestos. The risk of lung cancer is even higher among asbestos workers who also smoke. Asbestos workers should use protective equipment and follow recommended safety measures.

Pollution There is research that suggests a link between lung cancer and exposure to certain air pollutants, such as byproducts of the combustion of diesel and other fossil fuels.

Lung disease Certain lung diseases, such as tuberculosis (TB), increase a person's chance of developing lung cancer. Lung cancer tends to develop in areas of the lung that are scarred from TB. A person who has had lung cancer once is more likely to develop a second lung cancer compared with a person who has never had lung cancer.

What are the symptoms of lung cancer?

Another reason for the typical delay in detection of lung cancer is that the most common symptom of lung cancer is a persistent or chronic cough, which individuals can mistake for a cold or bronchitis. Other symptoms of lung cancer may include hoarseness of voice, shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing up blood, weight loss, lack of appetite, fever without obvious cause, repeated bouts of bronchitis or pneumonia and chest pain.

Another lung cancer symptom of lung cancer is chest, shoulder, or back pain, which feels like a constant ache that may or may not be related to coughing. There may also be some swelling of the neck and face.

Some lung cancer symptoms may occur that do not seem to be related to the lungs. These may be caused by the spread of lung cancer to other parts of the body. Depending on which organs are affected, symptoms can include headaches, weakness, pain, bone fractures, bleeding or blood clots.

Common symptoms of lung cancer: Persistent or chronic cough Hoarseness of voice Shortness of breath Wheezing Coughing up blood Weight loss Lack of appetite Fever without obvious cause Repeated bouts of bronchitis or pneumonia Chest pain

Medical history and physical exam


When a person goes for a lung exam, the doctor will ask many questions about the person's medical history, including questions about exposure to substances known to increase the risk of development of lung cancer. The doctor will also ask questions about the patients symptoms and give the patient a physical exam.

How is non-small cell lung cancer diagnosed?


Most lung cancers are not found until they start to cause symptoms. Symptoms can suggest that a person might have lung cancer, but the actual diagnosis is made by looking at lung cells under a microscope.

Common signs and symptoms of lung cancer


Most lung cancers do not cause any symptoms until they have spread too far to be cured, but symptoms do occur in some people with early lung cancer. If you go to your doctor when you first notice symptoms, your cancer might be diagnosed at an earlier stage, when treatment is more likely to be effective. The most common symptoms of lung cancer are: A cough that does not go away or gets worse Chest pain that is often worse with deep breathing, coughing, or laughing Hoarseness Weight loss and loss of appetite Coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum (spit or phlegm) Shortness of breath Feeling tired or weak Infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia that dont go away or keep coming back New onset of wheezing When lung cancer spreads to distant organs, it may cause: Bone pain (like pain in the back or hips) Neurologic changes (such as headache, weakness or numbness of an arm or leg, dizziness, balance problems, or seizures) Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes) Lumps near the surface of the body, due to cancer spreading to the skin or to lymph nodes (collections of immune system cells) in the neck or above the collarbone Most of the symptoms listed above are more likely to be caused by conditions other than lung cancer. Still, if you have any of these problems, its important to see your doctor right away so the cause can be found and treated, if needed. Some lung cancers can cause a group of very specific symptoms. These are often described as syndromes.

Horner syndrome
Cancers of the top part of the lungs (sometimes called Pancoast tumors) may damage a nerve that passes from the upper chest into your neck. This can cause severe shoulder pain. Sometimes these tumors also cause a group of symptoms called Horner syndrome: Drooping or weakness of one eyelid Having a smaller pupil (dark part in the center of the eye) in the same eye Reduced or absent sweating on the same side of the face Conditions other than lung cancer can also cause Horner syndrome.

Superior vena cava syndrome


The superior vena cava (SVC) is a large vein that carries blood from the head and arms back to the heart. It passes next to the upper part of the right lung and the lymph nodes inside the chest. Tumors in this area may push on the SVC, which can cause the blood to back up in the veins. This can cause swelling in the face, neck, arms, and upper chest (sometimes with a bluish-red skin color). It can also cause headaches, dizziness, and a change in consciousness if it affects the brain. While SVC syndrome can develop gradually over time, in some cases it can become life-threatening, and needs to be treated right away.

Paraneoplastic syndromes
Some lung cancers can make hormone-like substances that enter the bloodstream and cause problems with distant tissues and organs, even though the cancer has not spread to those tissues or organs. These problems are calledparaneoplastic syndromes. Sometimes these syndromes may be the first symptoms of lung cancer. Because the symptoms affect other organs, patients and their doctors may suspect at first that a disease other than lung cancer is causing them. Some of the more common paraneoplastic syndromes that can be caused by non-small cell lung cancer include: High blood calcium levels (hypercalcemia), which can cause frequent urination, thirst, constipation, nausea, vomiting, belly pain, weakness, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, and other nervous system problems Excess growth of certain bones, especially those in the finger tips, which is often painful Blood clots Excess breast growth in men (gynecomastia) Again, many of the symptoms listed above are more likely to be caused by conditions other than lung cancer. Still, if you have any of these problems, its important to see your doctor right away so the cause can be found and treated, if needed.