Saturday, 10 December 2016

9 Signs of Lung Cancer You Need to Know


The bad thing about lung cancer symptoms is that they are hardly noticeable in the early stage. Up to 40 % of lung cancer patients were diagnosed with the disease after the disease itself had advanced. Even 1/3 of the lung cancer patients were diagnosed at stage III. This article offers information about the early symptoms, tips how to recognize them, and how can early screening help.
  1. Cough/ Cough that Won`t Stop
Beware of a persistent cough that doesn’t seem to stop and lasts longer than it usually does. A cold or respiratory infection is associated with cough which lasts for 1-2 weeks, unlike the persistent one which just won`t stop and usually indicates lung cancer. So, in case your cough lasts for longer period, regardless of whether it is accompanied with mucus or not,  don’t take it for granted. You should visit your doctor and do some tests, such as x-ray in order to determine if it is a simple cold or something more serious.
  1. Chronic Cough/ Change in a Cough
In case you are a smoker, you need to carefully observe the possible changes in chronic cough. Some of the changes include: coughing up blood, excessive mucus, and frequent coughing with hoarse and deeper sound. If you notice some of these symptoms, consult your doctor right away. In addition, if some relative/ friend has these symptoms, advise them to visit the doctor as soon as possible.
  1. Shortness of Breath/ Breathing Changes
Shortness of breath usually occurs due to the blocking and narrowing of the airways by the cancer as well as by the fluid accumulated in the chest by lung tumor. So, being out of breath frequently can indicate a lung cancer. If it happens to be out of breath when you climb stairs, bring groceries, or perform activities which didn’t make you feel breathless before, you should visit your doctor right away.
  1. Chest Pain/ Pain in the Chest Area
Pain in the shoulder, back or chest can often by a result of lung cancer, and it is rarely associated with coughing. Your doctor should be informed about this, regardless of whether the chest pain is constant, it is dull, or it comes and goes. You should identify if the pain occurs in one single area or it occurs throughout the chest. Chest pain, as a result of lung cancer, is caused by metastasis to the chest wall (pleura), the ribs, or due to enlarged lymph nodes.

  1. Wheezing
If wheezing or whistling sound appears while breathing, blocked, inflamed or constricted airway could be the cause. There is no need to worry because wheezing can often be a sign of benign and curable health conditions. Asthma or allergies are one of the most common health conditions associated with wheezing. However, if the wheezing is prolonged and it doesn’t seem to stop, you need to visit your doctor, as it can be a sign of lung cancer.
  1. Voice Changes/ Raspy, Hoarse Voice
If you or someone else notices that your voice has become deeper, hoarse, or raspier, visit your doctor right away. Even though these symptoms can be associated with a simple cold, if he changes don’t seem to stop for more than two weeks, there is a possible reason to worry. In case the hoarseness is a lung cancer symptom, it happens when the tumor affects the nerve which is responsible for controlling the voice box.
  1. Weight Loss/ Drop in Weight
Just like any other type of cancer, lung cancer can also cause rapid weight loss (-10 pounds or more). This happens as a result to the cancer cells which use the bodily energy as well as from the way the body utilizes the energy derived from food intake.
  1. Bone Pain
Pain in the back or other parts of the body can be caused by lung cancer, which has spread to the bones. During the night while sleeping on the back, the pain becomes more severe. As mentioned above, this type of cancer can cause pain in other parts of the body, such as shoulders, neck, and arms, but this is rarely the case. However, you should be alerted and consult your doctor if any of these pains strikes.
  1. Headache
Even though headache isn’t always linked with brain metastasis, it is still one of the most common symptoms of lung cancer, in case it has spread to the brain. In some cases the lung tumor can put pressure on the main vena cava, the larger vein carries the blood from upper body into the heart. This can also result in a headache.
  1. CT Scan/ Early Screening May Help
Chest X-Ray is unable to identify an early stage cancer. However, as indicated by a 2001 study, low-dose computed tomography (CT) can help in reducing lung cancer mortality by 20 percent. This study involved 53, 454 people at high risk for lung cancer and they were put on both X-Ray and CT scan test. The results showed that low-dose CT scans won over the X-ray in discovering lung cancer.
  1. High-Risk Patients
The study conducted by U.S Preventive Services Task Force, advised people who are more susceptible to this disease to have a low-dose CT screening. According to this study, the people who are more prone to this disease are the following:
  • Have a 30-year or more history of smoking

  • Have smoked over the last 15 years
  • Are 55-79 years old
You should still consult your doctor and see if low-dose CT screening is appropriate for you.