Sings and Symptoms of Lung Cancer

Sings and Symptoms of Lung Cancer

General consideration

Lung cancer is the dominant cause of cancer deaths in the world. The American Cancer Society estimates 16000 deaths from lung cancer, accounting for approximately 28% of all cancer deaths. According to this study, more people die of lung cancer than of colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers combined.

Cancer Research UK has found a strong connection between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. The connection is established not only epidemiologically but also through the identification of carcinogens in tobacco these carcinogens are responsible for lung cancer.

Other risk factors for developing lung cancer include exposure to certain chemicals such as radon gas, asbestos, metals, and industrial chemicals. Some diseases are also linked with an increased risk of lung cancer, including sarcoidosis, Cushing syndrome, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The factory workers develop lung cancer at a faster rate than others.

Squamous cells carcinoma (23%) and adenocarcinoma(43%) are the most common type of lung cancer.

The signs and symptoms of lung cancer depend on the type and location of the primary tumour.

In the early stages, the cancer is asymptomatic. However, in advanced lung cancer, the lung cancer signs worsen and cause chest pain, shoulder pain, deep breathing, and cough. The most common symptom of lung cancer is having a cough most of the time.


  1. Persistent cough

Most people with lung cancer have doesn't symptoms until the cancer is advanced. A persistent cough is the earliest and warming sign of lung cancer.

The cough may be dry or accompanied by sputum. Some patients with lung cancer have also coughed blood. During cough, wheezing sounds are produced in the chest.



  1. Chest pain

When the lung cancer becomes larger it may cause tightness and presses the nerves of the lungs which gives rise to chest pain. Chest pain is often worse with breathing and coughing. Chest pain radiates to the adjacent tissue of the body.

Chest pain also arises when the cancer cells clot in the vein of the lungs.


  1. Severe shoulder pain

A very rare type of lung cancer growing right at the top of the lung is called Pancoast cancer. This cancer causes very specific symptoms. The most common symptom is severe shoulder pain, or pain also radiated down the arm. Pancoast cancer can also cause other symptoms which are related to Horner's syndrome.


  1. Fluid retention

Some patients with small-cell lung cancer lead to Cushing's syndrome. The cancer results in the production of a hormone called ACTH, which raises the level of cortisol in the body. Cortisol acts to retain fluid in the body which causes fluid retention and weight gain. This hormone may affect the kidney and bone structure of the patient.


  1. Deep breathing

Deep breathing comes on suddenly and occurs during usual daily activities.

Fluid retention in the lungs due to lung cancer leads to a decreased availability of oxygen for the body. The body needs oxygen as a result the lungs contract at a faster rate to meet the oxygen requirements.


  1. Paraneoplastic syndrome

It is an organ dysfunction syndrome caused by the secretary effects of neoplasms. These syndromes occur in 15-20% of lung cancer patients. In patients with small cell carcinoma, the paraneoplastic syndrome of an inappropriate anti-diuretic hormone can develop in 15% of those patients who have squamous cell carcinoma.

Digital clubbing is also seen in patients with paraneoplastic syndrome. Recognition of this syndrome is important because treatment of the disease may resolve the signs and symptoms.


  1. Lung cancer tumour marker

Lung cancer cells the lung cancer secret specialized types of substances into the blood of patients. These substances confirm lung cancers. These are Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), squamous cell carcinoma antigen, and cytokeratin 19 fragments.



  1. Lymph node

Lymph nodes are enlarged in almost every cancer. The most common lymph nodes which are swollen with lung cancers are inside the chest in the area between the lungs.

Extrapulmonary lymph nodes and extrathoracic lymph are often enlarged in presence of lung cancer.

  1. Other lung cancer common symptoms
  2. Unexplained weight loss
  3. Bluish red skin colour
  4. Finger clubbing
  5. Trouble speaking
  6. muscle weakness and bone pain

 Laboratory signs

The diagnosis of lung cancer rests on an examination of a biopsy. Sputum cytology is highly recommended for the diagnosis of lung cancer. Fine-needle aspiration of palpable lymph nodes is frequently used for diagnosis.

Fibreoptic bronchoscopy helps to visualise the airways, to detect the cancer lesion inside the airways. The use of bronchoscopy improves the ability to identify early lesion.



All patients having lung cancer have abnormal findings on chest x-rays or CT scans. Chest x-ray alone does not provide complete initial information. CT imaging helps to determine where to take a biopsy.

Positron emission tomography (PET) is an important modality for identifying the metastasis of lung tumours.


Treatment options for lung cancer

Treatment of non-small cell lung carcinoma is unlikely without resection. Surgical excision of cancer depends upon the stage of cancer and the extent of metastasis. The patient with stage 2 cancer requires adjunctive chemotherapy.

However, stage 3 patients have poor outcomes and can be treated with chemotherapy addiction to resection. Patients with stage 1 who are not fit for surgical resection, may be candidates for radiotherapy.


Small-cell lung cancer treatment

Small cell lung cancer has an excellent response rate to cisplatin and etoposide with 70-80% response in the early stages. However, recurrent small cell lung cancer is common. Thoracic radiation therapy may be indicated in patients with extensive small-cell lung cancer.

There is a high rate of brain metastasis has been noticed in patients with small-cell lung cancer.


Prognosis of lung cancer

The 10-year survival rate for lung cancer is approximately 24%. However, the predictor of survival depends upon the types and stages of cancer. Patients with small-cell lung cancer have better overall survival than other types. Most lung cancers spread to the adjacent tissue which has a poor prognosis.

If you have any of the symptoms stated above, take a test today and find out!

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