Lung cancer symptoms can be mistaken for less serious conditions, but as it’s one of the most common and serious types of cancer it’s important to recognise all the signs as early as possible.
One of the most common signs, a cough, can be confused for being a symptom of asthma, which is considered less serious.
While recognising the symptoms of lung cancer in the initial stages is one thing, it’s also important to be aware of the symptoms which can occur when the disease becomes advanced.
Lung cancer can be spread to lymph nodes, brain, liver, bone and adrenal glands, triggering different kinds of symptoms, according to Cancer Research UK.
These are a system of tubes and glands in the body that filter body fluid and help fight infection.
The cancer charity says: “The most common symptom if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes is that they are usually bigger than normal. But lymph nodes also get bigger if you have an infection.”
If cancer has spread to the brain, it says “drowsiness and confusion, severe headaches, often with sickness, and weakness of an arm or leg” can occur.
If it spreads to the liver you may experience discomfort or pain on the right side of your tummy, feel sick, have poor appetite and weight loss, have a swollen tummy, yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, and itchy skin.
If cancer has spread to the bone, the cancer charity says it can cause pain, often in the lower back, weaker bones, and raised calcium levels in the blood, which causes dehydration and confusion.
These are small glands found just above the kidney.
While cancer that has spread to the adrenal glands doesn’t usually cause any symptoms, the cancer charity says cancer which has spread to both adrenal glands may cause love levels of adrenal hormones.
This can then cause fairness, dizziness weakness, tiredness an unexplained weight loss.
The first signs of lung cancer to look out for include:
- A chest infection that doesn’t get better, or repeated chest infections
- Feeling breathes and wheezy for no reason
- Chest or shoulder pain that doesn’t get better
- A hoarse voice for three weeks or more
- Losing weight for no obvious reason
- Feeling extremely tired
- The ends of fingers change shape – they may become larger or rounded (known as clubbing)
Another sign people may not recognise as being linked to lung cancer is swelling in the face.
Swelling in the face can be a result of a superior vena cava obstruction.