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Symptoms of Lung Cancer

Symptoms result from damage to the lung or other structures that are near the lung in the mediastinum or surrounding tissues. They include:

  • Persistent and worsening cough
  • Hoarseness or any change in voice quality
  • Coughing up blood
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Frequent pneumonia or bronchitis
  • Chest pain

Symptoms that may affect your whole body include:

  • Swelling of the neck and face
  • Appetite loss
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • New back or bone pain
  • New inability to control the bladder or bowel
  • Seizure activity, specific weakness, or numbness
  • Unexplained clotting problems resulting in heart attack or stroke

Note: These symptoms may also be caused by other, less serious health conditions. If you are experiencing these symptoms, see your doctor.

Rarely, lung cancer may cause apparently unrelated systemic problems. These problems may include abnormal clotting, clubbing of the fingers, increase in blood calcium or decrease in blood sodium, and increase in bone density at the ends of the wrist (hypertophic osteopathy).

References:

American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/home/index.asp .

American Lung Association website. Available at: http://www.lungusa.org/site/pp.asp?c=dvLUK9O0E&b=22542 .

National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/ .



Last reviewed February 2007 by Barbara Harty-Golder, MD, JD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


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