Lung cancer is one of the most common and most aggressive malignant tumors in humans. Only in US, in 2010 there were 239,320 new cases of lung cancer and 161,250 deaths caused by this disease. It accounts for 25 – 30% of all cancer deaths. Both genetic predisposition and environmental factors can contribute to its development, with huge emphasis on smoking as the most influential risk factor. This cancer is dangerous because symptoms can appear in the advanced stage, but most patients have some of these symptoms in the early stages.
Now if you catch a cold or even bronchitis, the cough will last for a week or two and it will be accompanied by signs of infective disease (high temperature, runny nose, feeling ill, etc.). If however you start coughing little by little for no reason and if it lasts longer than a few weeks, you should visit your doctor, just in case. Maybe you have some irritation or allergy, but it is important to exclude the more serious cause, such as lung cancer.
Shortness of Breath
Shortness of breath can be a sign of heart disease or lung disease. If you have no heart-related issues and you start having difficulties breathing that you haven’t had before, you should check with your physician what could be the reason, as this is sometimes one of the first signs of lung cancer.
Dull or sharp pain in different chest, shoulder or back areas is also a common symptom of lung cancer. However, chest pain is really one of the most common and least specific symptoms in human medicine. It can be caused by psychological problems, lung issues, heart issues, and other causes, so you should not run into any conclusions before detailed examination by your doctor.
If the above symptoms are accompanied with severe weight loss in a short period of time, then you should refer to your doctor as soon as possible. Advanced tumors often produce general feeling of weakness and loss of weight.
Of course, it does not mean that you have to panic if you notice some of these symptoms. Still, they are useful indicator that you should visit your doctor and perform some tests in order to exclude or catch the disease in the early stage when there is the highest probability of successful treatment.
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Detterbeck, F. C., Mazzone, P. J., Naidich, D. P., & Bach, P. B. (2013). Screening for Lung Cancer: Diagnosis and Management of Lung Cancer, 3rd ed: American College of Chest Physicians Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines. Chest, 143(5 Suppl), e78S–e92S. http://doi.org/10.1378/chest.12-2350.