The Symptoms of Lung Cancer

The Symptoms of Lung Cancer

 February 3, 2021

A blue neon picture of the lungs

Despite the number of cigarette smokers dropping in the last couple of decades, lung cancer is still one of the most common types of cancer and accounts for 25 percent of cancer deaths.
More than 90 percent of new lung cancer patients will be diagnosed after the age of 55, with a median age of 70. African-Americans and men are the most likely segments of the population to develop lung cancer.

A history of smoking cigarettes can definitely increase the likelihood of cancer (even if your parent quit years ago), but it is not the only determining factor in lung cancer. Other factors such as second-hand smoke, exposure to toxic pollutants or radon can also significantly increase your parent’s chance of developing lung cancer.

Lung cancer develops when the nodules inside the lungs become cancerous. They may grow over time causing problems with breathing and other issues. When they become cancerous, your parent may start to notice some of these symptoms. At first, they may seem like cold or flu symptoms, but if you, your parent, or your home care provider notice that symptoms are not going away, it would be best to bring your parent for a visit with his doctor.

Lung Cancer Symptoms:

  • A change or worsening of a chronic cough not associated with a cold. Waking up each morning with serious coughing bouts can be a sign that your parent’s lungs are not doing well.
  • Spitting up blood when coughing. If your parent notices blood in his tissue or handkerchief, he should let you or his home care provider know right away.
  • Pain in the chest or back that worsens with coughing, deep breathing, or laughing. Also, a dull constant back pain or chest pain (that isn’t heart-related) might be caused by pressure from the cancer.
  • Hoarseness and pain in his throat.
  • Wheezing. If your parent is easily wheezing from simple excursions, it might be that his lungs are unable to perform as they should. If you or your home care provider notice a lot of wheezing, it should be brought up to his doctor.
  • Unexplained weight loss. When a body has cancer, it uses a lot of energy and calories to try to combat it. If your parent is suddenly losing weight without any reason, it could be a lot of health issues and it’s good to get it checked out as soon as possible.
  • Feeling that you are tired or weak. As the cancer cells use up much of the body’s energy supply, your parent may find he is feeling extremely tired and weak most of the day. It may also lessen his appetite.
  • If your parent has had a lung infection, such as bronchitis or pneumonia that he can’t seem to recover from, you’ll want to schedule a follow-up appointment to see if there is anything else occurring in his lungs.

Some Less Common Symptoms Of Lung Cancer Include:

  • Swelling in the face or neck.
  • Difficulty or pain while swallowing.
  • Changes in the appearance of fingers, called finger clubbing (finger clubbing is the enlargement of the fingertips and downward sloping of nails).

As soon as any of the above symptoms present themselves, make an appointment with your parent’s doctor. They may be symptoms of something other than lung cancer, but the more quickly the cause can get discovered, the more quickly your parent can start treatment and be back on the road to good health.

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