The key issue to diagnose Lung Cancer is to know the most seen Lung Cancer Symptoms and Signs. In addition to lung cancer symptoms, we presented some other syndromes related to it. While reading this article, you should know that none of the following symptoms can sometimes be noticeable. and other health problems can also cause these symptoms. Let’s start with the lung cancer symptoms and signs first.
Table of Contents
Lung Cancer: Facts
In this article, we will answer the question “What are the Signs and Symptoms of Lung Cancer?”. Firstly, we should remind you that lung cancer is not as dangerous as it is in the more advanced stages such as stage 4. It has an insidious character and this is the most important factor making lung cancer rather dangerous.
People in danger
Smoker with a genetic predisposition to cancer is in danger of having lung cancer. Doctors argue that genetic factors, for example, might explain that some people smoke a bit and develop cancer while others smoke a lot but do not develop.
People with chronic lung diseases such as scleroderma or with fibrosis (scar tissue) in the lungs. The fibrosis can occur as a result of pneumonia or tuberculosis.
Smoking and Lung Cancer
The most important cause of lung cancer is smoking a cigarette; however, it should be noted that nearly %20 of lung cancer patients have never smoked in their lives, which means %80 of these patients smoked before; this makes smoking the most important cause of lung cancer. Those who are at risk of lung cancer should decrease this risk very much by avoiding or by giving up smoking, pipes, cigars, hookahs and the places where other people use this kind of smoking products.
Signs and Symptoms of Lung Cancer
Early Signs of Lung Cancer
If you are a smoker and have chronic bronchitis associated with it, the symptoms of a seasonal cough and sputum complaints become persistent, sputum blood starts to be seen and shortness of breath is a complication that should raise suspicion for cancer.
However, in the first stages of the disease, patients experience symptoms such as fatigue, loss of weight, loss of appetite, and sweating.
Frequent Signs of Lung Cancer
Frequent symptoms combine breathing problems and unexplained impairment of your general condition;
a cough or increased cough of chronic bronchitis;
difficulty in breathing
loss of appetite
loss of weight.
recurrent pulmonary infection
severe chronic pain
If you experience these symptoms and they are persistent, especially if you smoke or if you had smoked for a long time; it is necessary to see a doctor for you.
The Most Common Lung Cancer Symptoms
Coughing, increasing or not disappearing (you must watch for a worsening smoker’s cough).
Constant chest pain that worsens when you cough or breathe deeply.
Shortness of breath.
Coughing up blood.
Hoarse voice longer than 3 or 4 weeks.
Depending on the case: recurrent bronchitis or pneumonia, weight loss and loss of appetite, chronic fatigue
Some Weak Symptoms
a headache, bone pain, etc.
Larger than normal lymph nodes in the neck or above the clavicle
Fluid around the lungs (pleural effusion)
Other Signs or Symptoms of Lung Cancer
Genetic factors, asbestos, radon gas, air pollution, people at risk due to high levels of arsenic in drinking water can reduce this risk by correcting life conditions.
Syndromes and Lung Cancer
Horner syndrome and Lung Cancer
Horner syndrome is a set of symptoms that can be a sign that lung cancer has invaded the nerves on top of the lungs. It is almost always caused by non-small cell lung cancer.
The symptoms include:
Significant shoulder pain,
Laxity or weakness of the eyelid or narrowing of the pupil,
Lack of or very slight sweating on the same side of the face as the affected eye.
These syndromes related to cancer types and these syndromes happen when cancer results in rare symptoms associated with the production of circulating substances. These substances which are thought to be in relation with those rare symptoms may be hormones. Besides, the immune system can make tumor or antibodies and these can produce the hormones. Our organs, endocrine system, and nervous system may be affected by Paraneoplastic syndromes and this case results in some changes in our nervous system and can cause hypoglycemia, diarrhea or high blood pressure.
Life Expectancy in Paraneoplastic Syndromes
Cases have shown that the medium is 6 months. But it shouldn’t be forgotten that these are just medians and some patients live much longer than this.
Vena Cava Syndrome
The superior vena cava syndrome is an obstruction of acute or chronic venous return, partial or total, on the superior vena cava system of the upper limbs or the cerebral-cervical extremity. This disorder can result from extrinsic compression, endovascular infiltration of the venous wall by tumor or thrombosis. There are some “superior vena cava syndrome signs” which are resulted from the interruption of normal venous return of blood. This interruption occurs from the upper limbs, neck, head to the atrium.
Clinical signs of Vena Cava Syndrome
The symptoms of the superior vena cava syndrome are caused or triggered by increased pressure of the superior vena cava. The beginning is progressive; however, its aftereffect depends on the speed of syndrome’s influence on the patient.
The superior cave syndrome often accompanies an advanced disease such as lung cancer. Researchers have found out that not more than 10% of people who have this syndrome can live up to 3 years after the process of superior cave syndrome’s treatment.
Vena Cava Syndrome Symptoms are related with;
head and neck edema (edema: medical term for swelling)
edema of the upper thorax and shoulders
Pertaining to the face and neck of the patient.
swelling of the jugular veins, thoracic collateral venous circulation
the swelling of deep structures may give dysphagia, dyspnea, and cough,
pleural effusion, dysphonia (vocal cords) (We will explain these terms in
another post one by one)
cerebral venous hypertension can result in a headache, drowsiness, dizziness,
some other disorders such as nausea, syncope, convulsions and even coma.
Metastatic Lung Cancer
Metastases can also reveal the existence of lung cancer. They can cause symptoms depending on the organ concerned, such as:
in case of bone metastasis;
headaches, metastases to the brain, but also nausea and vomiting, epileptic seizures, mental confusion (difficulty coordinating ideas, disturbances of perception and memory, disorientation in space and time …), speech disorders, balance and coordination of movements, behavioral changes, numbness of the face, arms or legs.
in case of metastasis to the liver;
Lung cancer can also be discovered by chance on a medical imaging report which is made to look for another possible pathology.
Research on Lung Cancer Symptoms
There are some studies on this disease and some of them evaluate these symptoms over time.
“A Cluster of Symptoms Over Time in Patients With Lung Cancer,
by Gift, Audrey G.; Stommel, Manfred; Jablonski, Anita; Given, William”