9 Early Signs of Lung Cancer Everyone Should Know

Anyone who suffers from or has had a loved one who has suffered from lung cancer knows that the disease is wildly misunderstood. It’s safe to say that most folks out there automatically think that years of unhealthy cigarette smoking is to blame for the deadly ailment–which isn’t completed unwarranted, of course– but between 10-15% of the cases can actually be attributed to other factors, like outdoor air pollution, occupational hazards, or radon exposure.

Because lung cancer might not be the most obvious culprit for those experiencing distressing “mystery symptoms,” it’s important to educate yourself on how and why you might be suffering. As a matter of fact, early detection at the onslaught of symptoms could reduce a person’s mortality rate by 20%. Important stuff!

So, even if you haven’t smoked a cigarette in your life, let’s take a look at how you can better spot the first signs of lung cancer. Of course, if you are experiencing any of these 9 symptoms, get to a doctor for a chest x-ray stat–reaching out could save your life!

  1. A persistent cough

    We all deal with those pesky, lingering coughs following nasty colds, but if you suffer from a persistent cough that won’t go away, this could be an early sign of lung cancer. It’s important to note that the quality of the cough doesn’t matter, it can either be dry and raspy or wet and filled with mucus. Either way, if the cough has been going strong for a couple of weeks, it’s time to seek professional help!

  2. Shortness of breath

    Have you noticed that the activities that you were once able to complete with ease are now hard or impossible to do without experiencing a shortness of breath? If so, you could be suffering from depleted lung function, a common symptom of lung cancer.

  3. Chest pain

    We hope that all of you readers out there realize that chest pain is something that should NEVER be ignored. Yes, it can be a sign of various ailments, but two of the scariest are lung cancer and cardiac arrest. If you have this sensation, don’t waste valuable time by dragging your feet–get help immediately!

  4. A drop in weight

    While a little bit of weight fluctuation is normal from time-to-time, if it happens suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere, it’s a sign that your body isn’t functioning properly. In this particular case, weight loss could be attributed to cancer cells using the body’s energy to grow stronger. Scary stuff!

  5. Frequent headaches

    A headache due to a fitful night or a stressful situation is not uncommon for most people, but if you get many, seemingly out of nowhere, it’s time that you have a conversation with your GP. There, your doc will evaluate the superior vena cava, a vein when put under pressure by a tumor in the lungs, can cause frequent headaches.

  6. Shoulder pain

    Pain in the shoulders or neck bones that worsens at night or disrupts sleep might be a sign of lung cancer. This can, of course, be a tricky symptom to pin down as bone and muscle pain are difficult to distinguish, so if it’s not a common ache that can be alleviated from over-the-counter painkillers or massage, it needs to be checked out.

  7. Raspy voice

    Raspy voices that come with years of smoking might sound cool to the ear, but they are very obvious signs that something is not right in the body. This is particularly true when sudden, persistent hoarseness comes on, a symptom that could be a sign of a tumor in the larynx.

  8. Constant fatigue

    We all feel tired every once in a while, but if it is an ongoing issue for you–especially if it is coupled with another one of these symptoms– then it could mean that you are suffering from lung cancer.

  9. Frequent chest infections

    One of the more obvious symptoms seen in lung cancer patients is their tendency to fall ill to frequent chest infections. Hopefully, your doctor will catch the frequency, but if they don’t, always do your best to keep them up-to-date on your medical history.

What are your experiences with lung cancer? Have you or a loved one been diagnosed? If so, was smoking to blame?

Sources: Healthline

Cancer Research UK