Lung Cancer - Symptoms

Not ready to share? Read other Patient Comments

What were the symptoms of your lung cancer?

Share your story with others:

MedicineNet appreciates your comment. Your comment may be displayed on the site and will always be published anonymously.Patient Comments FAQs

Enter your Comment

Tell us a bit about your background to make your comments more useful to other MedicineNet users. (Optional)

Screen Name: *

Gender of Patient: Male Female

Age Range of Patient:

I am a: Patient Caregiver


* Screen Name will appear next to the published comment. Please do not include your full name or email address.

By submitting your comment, and other materials (collectively referred to as a "Submission") to MedicineNet, you grant MedicineNet permission to use, copy, transmit, publish, display, edit and modify your Submission in connection with its Web site. MedicineNet will not pay you for your Submission. You represent that you have all rights necessary for MedicineNet to use your Submission as set forth above.

Please keep these guidelines in mind when writing your comment:

  • Please make sure you address the question asked.
  • Due to the overwhelming number of comments received, not all comments will be published.
  • When selecting comments to publish, our staff will choose those that are educational and complement the topic. Please try to stay on topic.
  • Your comment may be edited. We would typically edit comments to make them clearer and more readable. We will remove personal information such as last names, email and web addresses, and other potentially harmful information.
  • We will not notify you if your comment has been published. We suggest that you check back on the topic article regularly.
  • We do not provide medical or healthcare advice, treatment, or diagnosis.

Thank you for participating!


I have read and agree to abide by the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and the MedicineNet Privacy Policy (required).

To prevent our systems from spam, please complete the following prior to submitting your comment.

Please select the white circle:

What are lung cancer symptoms and signs?

Symptoms of lung cancer are varied depending upon where and how widespread the tumor is. Warning signs of lung cancer are not always present or easy to identify. Lung cancer may not cause pain or even any symptoms at all in some cases. A person with lung cancer may have the following kinds of symptoms:

  • No symptoms: In up to 25% of people who get lung cancer, the cancer is first discovered on a routine chest X-ray or CT scan as a solitary small mass sometimes called a coin lesion, since on a two-dimensional X-ray or CT scan, the round tumor looks like a coin. These patients with small, single masses often report no symptoms at the time the cancer is discovered.
  • Symptoms related to the cancer: The growth of the cancer and invasion of lung tissues and surrounding tissue may interfere with breathing, leading to symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pain, and coughing up blood (hemoptysis). If the cancer has invaded nerves, for example, it may cause shoulder pain that travels down the outside of the arm (called Pancoast syndrome) or paralysis of the vocal cords leading to hoarseness. Invasion of the esophagus may lead to difficulty swallowing (dysphagia). If a large airway is obstructed, collapse of a portion of the lung may occur and cause infections (abscesses, pneumonia) in the obstructed area.
  • Symptoms related to metastasis: Lung cancer that has spread to the bones may produce excruciating pain at the sites of bone involvement. Cancer that has spread to the brain may cause a number of neurologic symptoms that may include blurred vision, headaches, seizures, or symptoms of stroke such as weakness or loss of sensation in parts of the body.
  • Paraneoplastic symptoms: Lung cancers frequently are accompanied by symptoms that result from production of hormone-like substances by the tumor cells. These paraneoplastic syndromes occur most commonly with SCLC but may be seen with any tumor type. A common paraneoplastic syndrome associated with SCLC is the production of a hormone called adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) by the cancer cells, leading to oversecretion of the hormone cortisol by the adrenal glands (Cushing's syndrome). The most frequent paraneoplastic syndrome seen with NSCLC is the production of a substance similar to parathyroid hormone, resulting in elevated levels of calcium in the bloodstream.
  • Nonspecific symptoms: Nonspecific symptoms seen with many cancers, including lung cancers, include weight loss, weakness, and fatigue. Psychological symptoms such as depression and mood changes are also common.

When should one consult a doctor?

One should consult a health care professional if he or she develops the symptoms associated with lung cancer, in particular, if they have

  • a new persistent cough or worsening of an existing chronic cough
  • blood in the sputum
  • persistent bronchitis or repeated respiratory infections
  • chest pain
  • unexplained weight loss and/or fatigue
  • breathing difficulties such as shortness of breath or wheezing
Return to Lung Cancer

See what others are saying

Comment from: Mandy, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 08

My father died of lung cancer 2 years ago. He had pneumonia a year prior and never got over the cough. Every time he went to the doctor they told him not to worry, it was because he smoked and they did not run any tests. A year later my father lost feeling in the left side of his body, he could not walk or lift his arm so my brother took him to the emergency room where they did tests to see if he had a stroke. The doctor told him he had lung cancer that spread to his brain. My father did not live much longer after that. There was nothing they could do.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: Cricket, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 05

I had pain in the area of my lungs, also some loss of breath when very active. I had the most pain in my back and sides. I've been a smoker since I was 15, now 55. I have no insurance yet. I am scared and worried most about what to say to my family.

Was this comment helpful?Yes

STAY INFORMED

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!