Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer Symptoms and Signs

In up to 25% of people who get lung cancer, there are no apparent symptoms at the time of diagnosis. In others, symptoms can occur from the cancer itself, from the metastatic spread of the cancer beyond its origin in the lung, or from so-called paraneoplastic syndromes that result from the production of hormone-like substances by the lung cancer cells. Common symptoms include:

  • cough,
  • shortness of breath,
  • wheezing,
  • chest pain, and
  • coughing up blood.

Other symptoms can include shoulder pain, hoarseness, or difficulty swallowing. Symptoms of metastatic disease can include headaches, vision changes, seizures, weakness, or symptoms of stroke. Symptoms common to many cancers include fatigue, unexpected weight loss, and depression.

Lung cancer facts

  • Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer deaths in both men and women in the U.S. and worldwide.
  • Cigarette smoking is the principal risk factor for development of lung cancer.
  • Passive exposure to tobacco smoke also can cause lung cancer.
  • The two types of lung cancer, which grow and spread differently, are small cell lung cancers (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC).
  • The stage of lung cancer refers to the extent to which the cancer has spread in the body.
  • Treatment of lung cancer can involve a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy as well as newer experimental methods.
  • The general prognosis of lung cancer is poor because doctors tend not to find the disease until it is at an advanced stage. Five-year survival is around 54% for early stage lung cancer that is localized to the lungs, but only around 4% in advanced, inoperable lung cancer.
  • Smoking cessation is the most important measure that can prevent the development of lung cancer. Continue Reading
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Reviewed on 3/28/2016
Lung Cancer Pictures Slideshow: Causes, Symptoms, Types and Treatment

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