Like all other types of cancers, lung cancer also does not exhibit pronounced early symptoms in its initial stages. They begin to appear only once the disease reaches an advanced stage.
There are some symptoms which should not be ignored as they can be indicative of lung cancer and may help in early detection of lung cancer.
Cough that doesn't go:
This is usually the first symptom and most apparent one also. A hacking cough that doesn't go away is an alarming thing. Cough due to seasonal cold and flu and other respiratory infection should clear within two weeks or so. Do not ignore a lingering cough.
Changes in coughing:
Coughing more often than usual or change in the sound of cough (deeper or hoarser) should be brought in a doctor's attention.
Coughing up of blood:
Coughing up of blood (any amount) or cough with mucus (more than usual) should be examined by a doctor.
Shortness of breath & wheezing:
Becoming breathless easily can be due to many reasons and lung cancer could be one of them. The cancer may cause blockage, narrowing of airway or fluid build up in the chest due to tumour.
Chest pain, headache:
pain in chest, back and shoulder area may be experienced which may not be associated with coughing. The pain could be dull, sharp, consistent or comes & goes.
Change in voice:
If you notice or someone else points out a change in voice, it should not be ignored. Change could be voice becoming deeper, hoarser or raspier.
Sudden weight loss:
An unexplained and sudden loss of weight (10 pounds or more) may be associated with lung or any another type of cancer. Weight loss due to cancer may be due to cancer cells using excessive energy in the body. Therefore losing weight without any deliberate effort should not be taken lightly.
Pain in bones:
When lung cancer advances and spread to the bones and other parts of the body (metastasis), it produces pain in the back, other areas of the body and especially in bones. This type of pain worsens at night while lying on the back. This is usually a symptom in advanced or last stage of lung cancer when it has spread in other parts of the body.
The best way to keep a check on your body is to get regular health checkups done. This makes it easier to catch and treat diseases at an early stage where they respond well to medication & treatment.