Signs and symptoms
What are the symptoms of lung cancer?
The following are the most common symptoms for lung cancer; however, each individual may experience symptoms differently.
Lung cancer usually does not cause symptoms when it first develops, but they often become present after the tumor begins growing. A cough is the most common symptom of lung cancer. People with lung cancer also may experience the following symptoms:
- Constant chest pain.
- Shortness of breath.
- Recurring lung infections, such as pneumonia or bronchitis.
- Bloody or rust-colored sputum.
- Swelling of the neck and face caused by a tumor that presses on large blood vessels near the lung.
- Pain and weakness in the shoulder, arm or hand caused by a tumor that presses on certain nerves near the lung.
- Fever for unknown reason.
Like other cancers, lung cancer can cause the following symptoms:
- Loss of appetite.
- Loss of weight.
- Pain in other parts of the body not affected by the cancer.
- Bone fractures.
Other symptoms can be caused by substances made by lung cancer cells — referred to as a paraneoplastic syndrome. Certain lung cancer cells produce a substance that causes a sharp drop in the level of sodium in the blood, which can cause many symptoms, including confusion and sometimes even coma.
None of these symptoms is a sure sign of lung cancer. The symptoms of lung cancer may resemble another medical condition or problem. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.