Lung cancer – not Breast cancer or uterine carcinoma or Ovarian cancer – claims more women's lives every year than any other cancers. One of the reasons is that there are so few early signs of lung cancer – and there is no proven screening test to detect the disease in its early stages. The majority of patients are diagnosed once the cancer has progressed and spread elsewhere in the cancer area.
At this time, the cancer usually causes more noticeable symptoms such as back pain, headache, weight loss and fatigue. Bone pain is also common because of the spread of lung cancer there, says Laey Hospital's radiation oncology chair and the medical center of the Sophia Gordon Cancer Center in Burlington, Massachusetts, Andrea McKee. McKee is also a member of the Lung Cancer Expert Medical Advisory Panel of the Lung Association and works with his LUNG FORCE initiative to raise awareness and educate women about lung cancer.
Although the majority of people have lung cancer There are no obvious symptoms at an early stage before it spreads. Some people may experience these subtle, early signs of lung cancer. Keep in mind, however, that these symptoms are associated with many diseases and are rarely a sign of lung cancer. Nevertheless, it is important to be aware of any unexplained changes in your breathing.
This is the symptom most likely to emerge at an early stage. "Sometimes a tumor in the periphery [of the lungs] grows relatively large. We will diagnose it because it will not cause many symptoms," explains McKee. However, when a tumor presses on one of the bronchi, the main air passages enter the lungs, the cough receptors are likely to be triggered. "It can trigger a cough, even if the tumor is relatively small," she explains, pushing in the right place.
But coughing is a very nonspecific symptom. And if you have one, cancer is not the first thing that you think about (and it should not be). Cold and flu can last for several weeks. And if you have sensitive lungs, it's not uncommon for your cough to remain after the cold and other symptoms disappear. "You do not have to worry about lung cancer in this situation if it's associated with a viral disease," Dr. McKee.
But if you have a cough that lasts two to three weeks and is not associated with any viral or bacterial infection, this is a sign that you should see a doctor.
. 2 Shortness of breath.
A new symptom of lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society is a new feeling of shortness of breath. The technical term for this symptom is " dyspnoea ". Although it tends to be noticeable at later stages of the disease, it can appear if you have a tumor that blocks the airway. Any unexplained shortness of breath should be examined by a doctor.
. 3 Blood coughed.
"Some patients cough up blood when the tumor is near the bronchi," explains McKee. If you've ever coughed up blood or rusty mucus without explanation – even a small amount – seek a doctor as soon as possible. If you also experience drowsiness, dizziness or shortness of breath, it is especially important to see a doctor.
. 4 Chest pain.
If lung cancer has spread to the chest wall or causes swollen lymph nodes in the area, it can cause pain in the chest, back or shoulders. Breast pain caused by lung cancer tends to get worse when you cough, laugh or breathe deeply, says the ACS .
Since chest pain can be a sign of several severe conditions, it is important to talk to your doctor if you have any unexplained symptoms in the area. Any persistent or severe […] chest pain should be investigated. And if you experience other characteristic symptoms of a heart attack – such as. Pressure in the chest, sweating, nausea, dizziness or shortness of breath – this is a medical emergency and means that you should contact a doctor as soon as possible.
. 5 Hoarseness or wheezing.
Respiratory problems associated with lung cancer do not always manifest as respiratory distress. Instead, they might show themselves as more subtle, such as hoarseness or wheezing, explains the ACS . If you notice persistent respiratory changes, it is important that you are examined by a doctor.
If you can recognize these extremely subtle symptoms, you may get lung cancer in the early stages, which is very important.
"There is a big difference in survival between early detection and late detection when it comes to lung cancer," says Dr. McKee. In fact, the 5-year survival rate for patients diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer is below 10 percent . But if lung cancer is discovered at an early stage, it is far more likely that the patient will be successful in his treatment, says Dr. McKee.
Marlo Palacios, a 42-year-old lung cancer patient in Pasadena, California, USA, was diagnosed after seeing her doctor for persistent coughing. "I got a cough from what I initially thought was a cold for my son," says Palacios SELF. After a few weeks, the cough did not go away. "I did not want to do much of it, so I did not see my doctor right away. I even had an appointment three weeks after the cough, but I canceled it. "
A few weeks later, she finally decided to see a doctor. "I had to come to terms with the fact that this cough has not disappeared and that it does not feel like it came from a cold," she says. "The cough was dry and there were heavy waves. I would cough uncontrollably when this happened, to the point where I had to strangle and gasp. "After seeing a handful of doctors, she was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. "As a non-smoker, this was a first shock to me and everyone in my life," says Palacios.
Ashley Rivas, a 35-year-old lung cancer survivor from Albuquerque, New Mexico, tells a similar story about her diagnosis. Her symptoms started with wheezing during exercise, and her doctor prescribed an inhaler for activity-related asthma . "The medicine helped a bit, but never eliminated the symptoms," she tells SELF.
Several years later, Rivas developed a dry cough. Initially, it was just "persistent trouble, but nothing to worry about," explains Rivas. During the year it became more aggressive. "It sounded hollow or drum-shaped. It came out of my chest and was very painful. At night it was worse and was accompanied by fever. "The cough persisted, but she never felt ill enough to see a doctor.
Finally, Rivas took an X-ray and got pneumonia. A few weeks later, she was very tired and had a fever. She knew that something was wrong – after all, additional X-rays and tests showed that a cancerous tumor had grown on her right lung.
At the end of the day, you can not go wrong if you listen to your body. Caution is advised.
If you see a doctor if something does not feel right, you may begin to see the first signs of lung cancer or other health problems. Although not everyone who has lung cancer develops these symptoms at an early stage, these are the symptoms that most likely occur as the disease spreads and becomes more serious.
Chronic coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath may also be signs of a disease Acid reflux Asthma or a side effect of medication, Dr. McKee. And any inexplicable feeling of respiratory distress deserves medical attention. McKay says, "These are all things that your doctor should evaluate," Dr. McKee.
While not the worst case, you'll be glad you've been treated and finally have the annoying cough.