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7 Early Signs of Lung Cancer You Must Watch Out

Early diagnosis can help save lives.

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Cancer is a dreaded disease. Just the mere mention of cancer in a doctor’s diagnosis is enough to give a patient a panic attack.

Cancer begins in the cells. Normally, cells are formed whenever necessary to replace the old cells that die. However, this process sometimes becomes disrupted – some cells form uncontrollably and some do not die when they should. This disruption results in the formation of a mass called a tumor. Tumors can either be benign or malignant. Benign tumors generally aren’t a significant cause of alarm. However, malignant tumors can invade other tissues in the body and cause severe disease.

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According to MedLine Plus, there are more than 100 types of cancers, and most of them are named based on the anatomical site where they originate. One of the most common types of cancer is lung cancer. Symptoms commonly do not become apparent until the disease is at an advanced stage. Fortunately, there are seven warning signs that can help us detect lung cancer before it gets too late.

#1. Persistent Cough

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Photo credit: WiseGeek

Having a cough may mean that you have a respiratory infection that generally does not cause alarm. But having a cough that lasts for more than 2 weeks might mean that you need to visit your doctor and have relevant tests such as chest X-ray performed. This is particularly important if you have a persistent productive cough and is accompanied by other symptoms such as coughing up blood.

#2. Shortness of Breath

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Shortness of breath is another symptom that develops in patients with lung cancer. It occurs as a result of several factors such as anemia, fluid in the lungs or in the abdomen, blockage of blood vessels, or tumor growth. If you notice that you have become increasingly out of breath after climbing a flight of stairs, and this doesn’t normally happen before, you might need to pay your doctor a visit.

#3. Chest, Back, or Shoulder Pain

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Photo credit: Healthtap

Chest pain that becomes worse with deep breathing, laughing or coughing occurs in about 25% of patients with lung cancer, and the pain may radiate to the patient’s back or shoulders. But remember that chest, back, or shoulder pain are not always caused by cancer, so it is important to tell your doctor about these symptoms.

#4. Wheezing

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Photo credit: DIYhealth

A wheezing sound indicates the passage of air through narrowed airways. However, do not panic when you hear a wheezing sound during breathing as this can also indicate a much more benign condition such as asthma. But if it persists and becomes more prolonged, then go and pay your doctor a visit.

#5. Unexplained Weight Loss

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Weight loss typically occurs in patients with cancer, and it is often among the first noticeable signs of the disease. Patients may lose weight due to loss of appetite, increased metabolic demand, and the side effects of treatment such as mouth sores and nausea and vomiting.

#6. Bone Pain

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Photo credit: Chironexus

Bone pain develops if lung cancer has metastasized to the bones. Pain is usually felt in the backbone, ribs, and bones of the thigh and hips, and typically increases with activity. Again, consult your doctor if you experience this symptom.

#7. Headache

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Photo credit: Health.com

Headaches associated with lung cancer may occur as a result of metastasis to the brain. Headaches may also develop when the lung tumor compresses the blood vessels that carry blood to and from the brain. However, constant headaches may indicate a lot of things aside from cancer, so we urge you to not panic. It is still best to consult your doctor.

Again, we would like to emphasize that having one of these symptoms does not mean that you have lung cancer. But it may be prudent to you consult your doctor if you experience one of the abovementioned symptoms, especially if it begins to bother you or disrupt your activities of daily living.

Share this post with your friends, and let them know about these warning signs.

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H/T: Healthline

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