The main reason that makes lung cancer have such high death rates is its late detection which is due to the fact that the symptoms don’t show up until the disease has entered an advanced stage. In 40% of the patients, the diagnosis was made after the disease had progressed. In one third of the patients, the disease has already entered stage 3.
This article will present you the early symptoms, how to recognize them and in what way early screening can help, in order to prevent the cancer to spread.
Chest x-ray can’t detect the early stages of the cancer, but low-dose CT scans show more success in detecting the disease. A 2011 study revealed that low-dose computed tomography (CT) scans are proven to help in reducing lung cancer mortality by 20%. In this study, 53,454 people at high risk for lung cancer had a low-dose CT scan or an X-ray.
Because of this study, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended high-risk people which are more prone to this disease to have low-dose CT screening. This includes people who are 55 to 79 old, have a 30 year or more history of smoking or have smoked within the past 15 years.
The symptoms include:
Pay a close attention if there are changes in chronic cough, especially if you’re a smoker. When we say changes in cough, we mean: frequent coughing with hoarse and deeper sound, coughing up blood or excessive mucus. If you or someone you know notice these kind of changes, make sure to consult a doctor.
Change in voice
Lung cancer can cause hoarseness due to the tumor that affects the nerve which controls the voice box or larynx.
This happened because cancer cells use all of your body energy in order to feed themselves. This may result in losing 10 pounds or more.
Lung cancer has the ability to spread to your bones, resulting in back pain that get more severe during the night while sleeping on your back. Furthermore, lung cancer is connected with arm, neck and shoulder pain although rarely. Nevertheless, every pain should be checked by your doctor.
Headaches occur if the lung cancer spreads to the brain, but of course not every headache means cancer. There are cases where lung tumor presses the main vena cava, the larger vein which takes the blood from upper body into the heart. This can also cause headache.
The cancer blocks and narrows the pathways. This can also be caused by fluid that is accumulated in the chest by the lung cancer. This results in short of breath by doing normal everyday tasks.
Lung cancer causes pain in the back, chest or shoulders. No matter if the pain is persistent, sharp, dull, or comes and goes, it must be checked by your doctor. It is also important to notice whether the pain occurs only in a single area or appears throughout the chest. Chest pain which is a result of lung cancer is due to metastasis to the chest wall, pleura (lining around the lungs), or the ribs or because of enlarged lymph nodes.
Cough caused by a cold or a respiratory infection eventually goes away within a week or two. But, if the cough doesn’t stop after 2 weeks, it could be a sign of lung cancer.
Blocked, inflamed or constricted airways cause wheezing or whistling sound when you cough. This can denote various conditions, but one of them is also lung cancer.