Lung cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer because its symptoms are hard to notice in the first stages of the disease. Once the symptoms are diagnosed it’s usually progressed to the 3rd stage. In fact, 40% of the patients are diagnosed when the disease reaches 3rd stage.
Lung cancer in the early stages cannot be diagnosed with x-rays, because it doesn’t show up on the images. CT scans are much more effective in diagnosing this type of cancer, so it’s recommended that people between 55 and 80 and all the active smokers who smoke for more than 15years undergo CT scans in order to make sure they’re not in danger.
However, there are certain symptoms of early stage lung cancer we should all be familiar with so that we can have the upper hand and stand a fighting chance if such an unfortunate situation occurs. Here are 7 of the most common early symptoms of lung cancer you should look out for:
We all know how normal breathing sounds and we can easily notice if some breathing irregularities occur. If you notice whistling orwheezing sounds while you breathe normally it’s best to consult with your doctor and explain your symptoms to him. It doesn’t necessarily have to mean that you have lung cancer; they could be a sign of some other benign medical condition which is easy to treatand cure, like inflamed or obstructed airways. But it’s always best to check and be sure.
Shortness of Breath
Shortness of breath and difficulties breathing are another symptom which is easily attributed to a number of other medical conditions, usually respiratory diseases. But this is also one of the first signs of lung cancer which could occur because the tumor is obstructing or narrowing the airways or there’s a liquid build up in the chest. If you have breathing difficulties while performing he easiest tasks, which haven’t caused you problems before you need to see your doctor as soon as you can and explain these issues. He’ll know best whether you should be worried or not.
Pain in the chest, back or shoulders
Pain in the chest, back or shoulders is something we usually attribute to some benign condition. But this is also one of the first symptoms of lung cancer because it can be caused by metastasis of the lymph nodes or the ribs. Even if you feel healthy overall, if your chest, back or shoulders ache you frequently you need to see your doctor.
Persistent cough is another symptom we need to look out for because it may be a sign of lung cancer. However, if the cough stops in 2-3 weeks it’s probably some respiratory infection and there’s nothing to worry. But if not, and if you’re coughing out mucus you should visit your doctor as soon as you can so that he can determine what’s causing it. These are the changes you need to look out for: frequent coughing with hoarse and deeper sound, coughing up blood or extra mucus.
If the cancer has metastasis in the brain the affected person can start feeling regular headaches, but it’s not always the case. It can also be that the lung tumor presses the main vein which transports the blood to the brain from the upper part of the heart. However the case you should see your doctor and confirm the cause of the headaches.
If you feel bone pain or pain in any other part of the body you should see your doctor and explain your symptoms. It’s a clear sign that something is wrong and you need to find the root cause.
If you’ve started to lose weight noticeably without any apparent reason you should check with your doctor to see what’s wrong. It’s common for a person suffering from cancer to start rapidly losing weight because the cancer cells are draining the energy we get from food consumption and we’re burning calories without doing anything.