Lung Cancer Symptoms
The early symptoms of lung cancer resemble the symptoms of other common illnesses. As such, it can be difficult to diagnose lung cancer until it is too late. Also confounding the problem, at least 25 percent of the people that are diagnosed with lung cancer have no symptoms at all.
Therefore, when you get a physical exam, the doctor typically checks the potential lung cancer symptoms against the patient background and considers the age, occupational exposure, family history and smoking history to determine if the symptoms are actually the result of lung cancer.
For example, an 18 female who does not smoke probably does not have lung cancer, whereas a 60 year male who smoked for 40 years might be suffering from lung cancer.
The first symptom that most people notice is a persistent cough, and it is noted about 80 percent of the time that people have symptoms. Many people refer to this as the smokers cough. Lung cancer affects the cells lining the airways, and the nerve endings in the airways detect any foreign substance and try to dislodge it in an effort to keep the airways clean. Patients diagnosed with lung cancer who never complain of coughing most likely have tumors located in the smaller passageways that do not get as irritated.
The second most common symptom is coughing up blood. When the tumor gets larger, it tends to bleed, resulting in the patient coughing up bloody mucous. If this is noticed, then you should get a physical exam as soon as possible to determine the cause of the discharge.
The third most common symptom is wheezing. This is caused by the airways being blocked by the tumor. Sometimes the wheezing is loud enough to be heard when the patient is breathing, other times the doctor will detect the wheezing when listen to the breathing.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should inform your doctor and have it checked out as soon as possible. The earlier that lung cancer is detected the better chances are that the patient will survive.