Cancer has become a worldwide problem and is the second leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease.
Lung cancer is one of those diseases that can just creep up on you, and by the time you notice something is wrong, often the cancer is pretty advanced. In fact, in America, lung cancer causes 25 percent of all cancer deaths in adults. That incessant cough you have might be an irritation from the flu or infection; however, it might be a symptom of something far more serious, so it’s best to get that ruled out.
Early detection is crucial for a cure, and the older you are the more chance you have of lung cancer becoming your enemy.
We all know by now that smoking is bad for the health, yet around 38 million Americans still light up. Cancer of the throat is almost always caused by smoking, and lung cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide for both men and women, with the disease on the rise in women.
So what are the symptoms of lung cancer? Here are some, and if you or your loved ones are suffering from any of these, please visit your doctor to rule out anything serious. There are many other reasons you may be suffering from these symptoms, but remember, if it is lung cancer, early treatment is crucial.
1. Persistent cough
The cough you have just never leaves you; this may be the first sign that appears. It could be associated with the flu, but if that is the case it should clear up in a few weeks. The cough may be a dry one, or perhaps you cough up phlegm, and it may be keeping you up at night. Don’t think, “Oh it’s just a cough,” and think you might be wasting the doctor’s time with a visit.
2. Coughing up blood
This can be a warning sign of lung cancer, and it may only be a small amount of blood-tinged mucus, or even just a few specks of blood, but it needs to be examined by your doctor.
3. Shortness of breath
This symptom, especially in older folk or those leading a sedentary life, often will be dismissed as not being so fit anymore, or simply getting older. If you are having difficulty climbing stairs, or if simple tasks make you out of breath, it may be time for a checkup.
4. Chest pain
Pain can be present in the chest, back, shoulders, and often increases with coughing, laughing, or taking a deep breath. Other illnesses, such as pleurisy, infections, pneumothorax, or pulmonary embolism, can cause chest pain as well.
5. Hoarse voice
Colds and flu can leave you with a hoarse or raspy voice for a week or two, but if the change in your vocal chords has been going on longer than that, it may be caused by a tumor affecting the nerves to your vocal chords.
6. Unexplained weight loss, no appetite
Lung cancer may cause you to lose your appetite, which can lead to unintentional weight loss. However, there are many other issues that can cause weight loss. A visit to the doctor may identify the cause, but you should not just ignore it.
There may be other symptoms if the cancer has already spread to other parts of the body. These include jaundice, bone pain, changes in the nervous system, and skin lumps.
Remember, catching lung cancer in its early stages gives you a better chance of surviving, so tell your doctor if you experience any of the above symptoms, or if you are worried you might have this disease.