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10 Common Symptoms of Lung Cancer


Lung cancer is a result of a cancerous tumor in your lung that affects lymph nodes. It occurs more often when you smoke, but can affect anyone. Lung cancer is common, with more than 200,000 cases diagnosed each year in the United States.

There are two types of lung cancer: non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. Treating symptoms includes surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, drug therapy, and immunotherapy.

Symptom 1: Hoarse Voice

Has your voice become deeper? Gruff? Gravelly? Rough?

According to Healthline. “Your vocal chords produce sound by opening and closing, causing vibrations. When lung cancer involves the laryngeal nerve, it can affect your vocal cords and may cause a change or hoarseness in your voice. Hoarseness is a common symptom of many conditions, most commonly laryngitis.”

Symptom 2: Out of Breath

Do you constantly feel out of breath? Enough to scare you and make you uncomfortable?

The medical term for shortness of breath is dyspnea. Lung cancer can cause frequent respiratory infections.

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Symptom 3: Tiredness

Do you feel tired all the time? No matter how much sleep you get? Have you heard about CRF, or cancer-related fatigue? It does exist, and it can drain your energy and make you lethargic.

Fatigue can be caused by the lung cancer spreading and/or the treatments you are taking for it.

Symptom 4: Weight Loss

Do you lose weight without even trying to?

According to the American Cancer Society, “A cancer may also cause symptoms like fever, extreme tiredness (fatigue), or weight loss. This may be because cancer cells use up much of the body's energy supply, or they may release substances that change the way the body makes energy from food.”

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Symptom 5: Coughing

Do you constantly cough? Does your cough never go away or sound like a smoker’s cough?

Lung cancer can cause a chronic cough with blood, dryness, and phlegm.

Symptom 6: Chest/Rib Pain

Those with lung cancer experience chest, back, and rib pain, especially when they laugh, cough, or breath. The pain can be dull deep, aching, or sharp.

Depending on the size of the tumor(s), it can press against nerves, bones, and other body parts – causing pain.

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Symptom 7: Wheezing

When the airways in your body become constricted, blocked, or inflamed, you wheeze or whistle when you breathe. If lung cancer is causing you to wheeze (noisy breathing), your care team can give you medications that may relax your muscles in the air tubes leading to your lungs, allowing air to pass more easily into your lungs.

According to LungCancer.net, “Estimates range that 40-85% of patients with lung cancer experience respiratory symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing up blood. Wheezing may be caused by pulmonary (related to the lungs) or cardiac (related to the heart) factors.”

Symptom 8: Loss of Appetite

No longer want to visit your favorite burger joint or binging on pizza? When you have lung cancer, or any type of cancer, you do not feel well. This makes you feel like not eating. A loss of appetite can cause weight and muscle loss.

Also, treatments and medications for lung cancer can cause you to lose your appetite

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Symptom 9: Weakness

Do you lack energy? Unable to do everyday tasks and activities?

As lung cancer spreads, your body becomes weaker. Weakness may just be on one side of your body, make your fingers and toes feel numb, and make your muscles unstable.

Symptom 10: Swollen Lymph Nodes

Lung cancer can spread to your lymph nodes within your chest, abdomen, neck, or armpits. When lymph nodes are impacted that may affect other organs, including your brain and liver.

According to Cancer Research UK, “The most common symptom if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes is that they are usually bigger than normal. But lymph nodes also get bigger if you have an infection. So, you can't be sure of the cause of a lump until your doctor has examined you and done some tests. Tell your doctor if you find any lumps or swollen areas, particularly in your neck or armpits.”

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