6 Symptoms of Lung Cancer

According to the World Health Organization, cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide and lung cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed globally.

Lung cancer kills more than any other cancers in the United States.

It claims more lives each year than the combination of breast, colon, prostate, and colorectal cancers.

In 2018, more than 150,000 Americans, representing about 25 percent of all cancer-related diseases are expected to die from lung cancer.

Lung cancer is more common in men than in women, and black men than in white men.

The survival rate of lung cancer based on a five-years survival is low (18.6 percent) compared to other types of cancer.

  However, this rises to 56 percent, if lung cancer is detected early before spreading to other organs of the body.

 Keep reading to know the symptoms of lung cancer.

Lung cancer, in most cases, does not show any signs or symptoms in its earliest stages.

Signs and symptoms most times show up when the disease has advanced.

The signs and symptoms of lung cancer may not be the same as everyone diagnosed with the disease. These may include:

Persistent cough

About half of the people with lung cancer normally have a chronic cough at the time of diagnosis.

Chronic cough is a cough that stays consecutively for eight weeks or more.

Persistent or chronic cough that refuses to go or worsen over time might be a warning sign that you have lung cancer.

Ordinarily, a cough that is as a result of cold or respiratory infections will go away at most in 2 weeks, but if the cough stays longer or worsened to the extent that it gets deeper and you vomit large amount of mucus or blood, you might have developed lung cancer.

Discuss with your doctor if you have a cough that has refused to go away for weeks.

Pain in the chest

Pain in the chest might be a sign that you have lung cancer.

According to the ACS, these pains if caused by lung cancer tends to get worse with time when you cough, laugh or breathe deeply.

Lung cancer causes pain in this area if it has extended to the chest wall or resulted in swollen lymph nodes.

You may also experience unexplainable and lingering pain in your back or shoulder.

You must discuss with your doctor if you are experiencing severe pain in these areas because some other disorders could also cause this pain. 

Shortness of Breath

Shortness of breath or dyspnea, is another potential symptom of lung cancer.

This symptom becomes more noticeable during the later stages of the disease.

You may experience changes in breath if you have a tumor caused by lung cancer that blocks or narrow your airways.

Fluid from a lung tumor in your chest could also cause shortness of breath.

Discuss with your doctor if you experience this symptom especially after using the stair or performing tasks.


Wheezing is a potential symptom of lung cancer. Your lung produces a wheezing or whistling sound when you breathe if your airways become blocked, constricted, or inflamed.

Many other disorders apart from lung cancer may also cause wheezing. Some of these disorders are benign and easily treatable.

Don’t ignore this symptom, let your doctor confirm what is responsible for the whistling sound.

Weight loss and loss of appetite

Weight loss and loss of appetite are common symptoms in people with lung cancer and other types of cancer.

Research shows that weight loss is often the first noticeable sign of the disease.

If you experience an unexpected weight loss of 10 pounds or more without dieting, don’t ignore such, get your doctor informed.

This unexplainable drop in weight could be as a result of the cancer cells using much of your body’s energy or altering the ways your body makes energy.


Many things which include lung cancer could cause a headache. A headache could also be a sign that lung cancer has spread to the brain.

That said, not all headaches are connected with brain metastases.

Oftentimes, a lung tumor may cause pressure on the superior vena cava. This is the large vein that transports blood to the heart from the upper body. The pressure can also cause headaches or migraines in severe cases.

Lung cancer is more common among smokers and in people who are 55 years and older and have smoked cigarettes within the last 15 years.

If you are experiencing any of the above systems, you should discuss with your doctor without delay.

However, many health disorders apart from lung cancer could also cause some of the symptoms of lung cancer mentioned in this post.

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