Know the symptoms! Finding lung cancer early allows for more personalized treatment options, with a much better success rate. Taken on their own, each of the following symptoms of lung cancer is generally not a cause for worry.
Symptom: Persistent Cough
A cough that doesn’t go away or worsens into a chronic “smoker’s cough” is one of the most common symptoms of lung cancer. If you are coughing up blood or rust-colored spit/phlegm, see your doctor immediately.
Symptom: Shortness of Breath
Shortness of breath could also be a sign of lung cancer. If a lung cancer tumor is blocking a major airway, it could cause shortness of breath. Sometimes fluid in the lungs can make breathing difficult and this could also be a sign of lung cancer. See your doctor if you have shortness of breath that concerns you.
Has your voice changed? Does it sound raspy? Are you hoarse? Has anyone pointed out that your voice sounds high-pitched? These changes in your voice could indicate lung cancer. You should make an appointment with your doctor to have any changes in your voice checked out.
Chronic bronchitis or pneumonia that doesn’t go away or that keeps coming back could be a sign of lung cancer. If you have symptoms of bronchitis or pneumonia, such as a cough, shortness of breath, slight fever and chills and chest discomfort, see your doctor for treatment as soon as possible.
Symptom: Chest Pain
If you have pain in your chest, it could be an indicator of lung cancer. This is especially true if the chest pain often is worse when you breathe deeply, cough or laugh. See your doctor if you have chest pain that gets worse when breathing deeply, coughing or laughing.
Symptom: Unexplained Weight Loss
Have you lost weight for no reason? One of the first signs of cancer, including lung cancer, is unexplained weight loss. If you have lost 10 pounds or more and you haven’t been trying, see your doctor immediately.
Symptom: Bone Pain
Some researchers estimate that about 5% of lung cancer deaths worldwide are due to outdoor air pollution. People who live in cities, especially near high traffic roads, have a slightly increased risk of lung cancer. Follow recommendations for avoiding exposure such as exercising in the morning or staying indoors on high-pollution days. Check air quality forecasts to decide about your outdoor activities. Check AirNow.gov to keep an eye on your air quality.
Make an appointment with your doctor whenever you have symptoms that concern you.
Get Informed — Stay Informed
Life should take your breath away, not lung cancer. Sign up for the Lung Cancer Foundation of America’s newsletter to get more resources on lung cancer risks, symptoms, and warning signs, and to learn how you can take part in the fight against this deadly disease.