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Lung Cancer Symptoms

Recognizing the signs of lung cancer can be key to early diagnosis and successful treatment.
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Learn what to look for

Lung cancer is a disease that develops in lung tissues like the lining of your airways. While most lung cancers are found through tests and screenings, it’s important to learn what symptoms to be looking for. If you experience any of these lung cancer symptoms, make an appointment with your primary care physician.

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Early warning signs of lung cancer

In many cases, patients with early stage lung cancer don’t have symptoms. Lung cancer at this stage can be discovered through screenings. Once the cancer is more advanced, patients may experience any or a combination of the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • Unexplained weight loss
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Symptoms of non-small cell and small cell lung cancers

The most common form of lung cancer is non-small cell lung cancer, or NSCLC. With NSCLC, cells in the inner lung change and grow out of control, eventually forming a tumor. Small cell lung cancer, or SCLC, develops when develops when neuroendocrine cells—cells that release hormones when stimulated by nerve cells—start to grow uncontrollably. As these types of cancer progress, symptoms can include:

  • Blood in spit
  • Poor appetite
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Frequent infections, such as bronchitis or pneumonia
  • Swelling of the neck or face

When cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it can cause additional symptoms depending on where it spreads. For example, if it spreads to the brain, it can cause:

  • Headaches
  • Convulsiones
  • Vision changes
  • Memory problems
  • Balance problems
  • Náusea

If cancer spreads to the bones, you may experience:

  • Chronic pain in bones and joints
  • Pain radiating down an arm or leg

If cancer spreads to the liver, you may notice:

  • Jaundice
  • Swelling in the abdomen
  • Feeling of constant fullness

These are some of the more common symptoms of the various types of lung cancer. Not everyone will show signs of lung cancer in the early stages, and not every patient will experience the same symptoms. Still, if you notice any of these lung cancer symptoms, have them checked by a doctor.

  • Finding treatment for your symptoms

    Medical conditions other than lung cancer may cause these symptoms. But if you have questions about any symptoms you experience, or if you experience them for an extended period of time, seeing a doctor can only help catch any problem early. Make an appointment, and let our care team be on yours.

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