Recognizing Lung Cancer Symptoms Before It Gets Too Late
Recognizing Lung Cancer Symptoms
One of the most insidious aspects of lung carcinoma is the lack of any symptoms in 75% of patients. Often, it is not until the cancer has reached Stage III or Stage IV that there are any noticeable symptoms. However, for 25% of patients, recognizing these lung cancer symptoms signs may mean the difference between successful cancer treatment and a much worse prognosis.
Many, although not all, of lung carcinoma symptoms are directly related to the quality of your breathing and the action of your lungs. Some of the breathing related symptoms include:
-appearance of or increase in severity of chronic cough
-shortness of breath
-frequent lung infections such as pneumonia
-coughing up blood, even in tiny quantities
What causes these symptoms is the damage that the cancer starts to cause to the lungs. Both types of lung carcinoma, both small cell cancer and non-small cell cancer. In both types, the tumors can start to obstruct the airways, sometimes at the micro-level, cause inflammation, instigating an increase in coughing, constricting airways resulting in the shortness of breath and wheezing. Sometimes the tumors themselves or blood vessels adjacent to the tumors will burst, causing internal micro bleeding and resulting in a productive cough with specks of blood.
Chest pain generally occurs when a moderate to large sized tumor lodges in the chest wall. In a similar manner, hoarseness is often the result of pressure from a tumor on the nerves that control the voice box. In essence, more than symptoms, these are actually complications from cancer that has already started to metastasize to other parts of the body.
Some of the non-breathing related symptoms include:
-sudden weight loss, without any attempt at weight reduction
-sudden chronic fatigue
Sudden weight loss is generally related to many sorts of cancer. In essence, the fast growing cells of the cancer are “hungry” using a lot of energy to build themselves up and spread to surrounding tissue. Sudden chronic fatigue can come as a result of poor oxygen exchange from the damage done to the lungs.
Knowing your “normal” is key to recognizing these lung cancer symptoms.