Though lung cancer is the second most common cancer in the United States, it’s often diagnosed at a far later stage than other cancers. There is no regular screening for lung cancer, and unlike many other cancers that present with noticeable symptoms right away, it doesn’t cause any symptoms until it has spread. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t warning signs. Talk to your doctor if you notice any of the symptoms below, especially if you have a family history of lung cancer or are a smoker.
A Sudden, Persistent Cough
All too often, serious coughs are downplayed as nothing more than allergies or the result of a cold. If you’re suddenly coughing more than you ever have or are coughing up liquids (like mucus or blood), don’t ignore it.
Changes in Your Breathing
Are you suddenly short of breath every time you walk up just a few steps? Do you have to catch your breath after walking down a long hallway? Difficulty breathing during daily activity is a clear sign that something is wrong. You should also pay attention to any wheezing that occurs while you’re trying to breathe.
Reoccuring Respiratory Infections
Frequent infections, like bronchitis or pneumonia, are also signs of lung cancer. If you’ve had several lung infections within the same year, be sure to tell your doctor.
If you’re suddenly losing weight without trying, this is your body’s way of saying something is wrong. Weight loss is a common symptom of many cancers and illnesses, so talk you your doctor about any sudden or unexpected changes in weight.
Loss of Appetite
Loss of appetite is common in lung cancer patients and is often the main reason behind their weight loss. Lack of an appetite can be caused by a few things, including nausea, dry mouth, jaw pain, and/or mouth sores.
Though lung cancer is the second most common cancer in the United States, it’s often diagnosed at a far later stage than other cancers because there is no regular screening for it and it doesn’t present with many symptoms until it has spread.
A cancer diagnosis is the beginning. We can help with what comes next. Hope and healing begin at Cortland Regional Medical Center.