The following are the most common symptoms for lung cancer. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently.
Lung cancer usually does not cause symptoms when it first develops, but they often become present after the tumor begins growing. A cough is the most common symptom of lung cancer. Other symptoms include:
- Constant chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Recurring lung infections, such as pneumonia or bronchitis
- Bloody or rust colored sputum
- A tumor that presses on large blood vessels near the lung can cause swelling of the neck and face
- A tumor that presses on certain nerves near the lung causing pain and weakness in the shoulder, arm, or hand
- Fever for unknown reason
Like all cancers, lung cancer can cause:
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of weight
- Pain in other parts of the body not affected by the cancer
- Bone fractures
Other symptoms can be caused by substances made by lung cancer cells – referred to as a paraneoplastic syndrome. For example, certain lung cancer cells produce a substance that causes a sharp drop in the level of sodium in the blood, which can cause many symptoms, including confusion and sometimes even coma.
None of these symptoms is a sure sign of lung cancer. Only a physician can tell whether a patient’s symptoms are caused by cancer or by another problem. Consult your physician for a diagnosis.