Lung Cancer Symptoms that You Need to Know Even if You’re NOT a Smoker

The second most common type of cancer both in men and women is lung cancer. It is estimated that around 14% of all new cancers are lung cancers. This year alone in the US, there have been 224,390 new cases of lung cancer and about 158,080 deaths due to lung cancer.

Every year, the number of people dying from lung cancer grows. Each year, there are more lung cancer victims than colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined, which makes it the deadliest type of cancer both in men and women. With the odds of developing lung cancer for men at about 1 in 14 and for women 1 in 17, it’s important to know the signs.

First, we should mention that there are two main kinds of lung cancer, small cell lung cancer, and non-small cell lung cancer, and a diagnosis for each is made by looking at the cells under a microscope. The more aggressive form is the small cell lung cancer, which forms in the tissues of the lung and can spread to other parts of the body. Under a microscope, the cancer cells look small and oval-shaped. When it comes to non-small cell lung cancer, there three kinds: squamous cell carcinoma, large cell carcinoma, and adenocarcinoma.

The signs and symptoms

Catching the early symptoms of the disease is very important, as it makes more treatable. As for lung cancer, there are a number of signs and symptoms that will demonstrate with the onset of lung cancer. These are the early signs of lung cancer:

  • A cough that worsens or doesn’t go away
  • Constant chest pain that gets worse by deep breathing or coughing
  • blood stained sputum (mucus and other matter coughed up from the lungs)
  • shortness of breath
  • wheezing
  • frequent chest infections (bronchitis or pneumonia)
  • fatigue
  • hoarseness
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • collapsed lung
  • severe shoulder pain (caused by a superior sulcus tumor pressing on a nerve)
  • problems in one eye (dropping or weakness of the eyelid, and a smaller pupil)
  • reduced or absent perspiration on the same side of the face as the affected eye

The late signs of the disease are:

  • The buildup of fluid around the lungs
  • bone pain
  • jaundice
  • difficulty swallowing
  • superior vena cava syndrome
  • neurological changes (weakness, headache, numbness in a limb, dizziness, seizure)
  • enlarge lymph nodes in the neck or above the collarbone

Main causes


This is basically common knowledge. Everyone knows that lung cancer is strongly related to smoking with about 90 percent of lung cancer cases arising as a result of tobacco. Even people who reside with a smoker are twenty-four percent more at risk of developing lung cancer.


Asbestos exposure is also considered as a cause of lung cancer. The fibers are silicate fibers that can persist for a lifetime in lung tissue following exposure to asbestos. Because asbestos was commonly used as insulation for a long time, it is very probable you’ve been exposed to some without your knowledge. Even though asbestos is banned in the United States, it is still linked to lung cancer and mesothelioma. Being exposed to asbestos creates a fivefold greater risk of developing lung cancer. The risk multiples if the person is also a smoker.

Radon gas

This is a natural, chemically inert gas that is a product of uranium. It’s been estimated that twelve percent of lung cancer deaths attributable to radon gas. The environmental protection agency estimates that one out of every fifteen homes in the U.S. contain dangerous levels of radon gas.

Air pollution

This global issue that is created by cars and industrial by-products is also a known cause of the disease. One percent of cancer deaths are attributable to breathing polluted air. According to experts, prolonged exposure to polluted air can carry a similar risk as that of passive smoking.

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