15 signs and symptoms of lung cancer

Symptoms of lung cancer

Lung cancer in some cases can proceed without showing any symptoms until it is in the late stages. If a person experiences any of the cancer symptoms below, it is better to go for diagnosis early.

Symptoms of lung cancer

The common symptoms of lung cancer are;

  • Chest pain – Chest pain can be a symptom of lung cancer especially if it is a worsening pain during coughing, deep breathing, or laughing. The chest pain can be caused by the enlargement of lymph nodes or metastasis to the chest wall, the pleura, or the ribs.
  • Coughing up blood – Coughing up blood is one of the most common symptoms of lung cancer. You may cough up blood in sputum, spit, or phlegm.
  • Shortness of breath – Shortness of breath is also one of the most common lung cancer symptoms. It can be caused by a build-up of fluid in the pleural space, blocked airways due to lung tumors, or low oxygen levels in the blood.
  • A cough that doesn’t go away – A sudden cough that seems not to go away is also the most common sign of a lung cancer infection. You may cough up blood or blood-tinged mucus.
  • Hoarseness – A lung cancer victim can experience hoarseness due to paralysis or weakness in the laryngeal nerve which controls the actions of the larynx.
  • Weight loss – Weight loss is common in most lung cancer patients. The reduction in weight is usually unexpected and no matter how much a person eats, the weight doesn’t add up.
  • Wheezing – Wheezing is also one of the most common symptoms of lung cancer. The person produces a whistling noise while breathing. This is usually caused by the narrowing of airways due to tumors.
  • Swollen lymph nodes – Swelling of lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin can be witnessed in most cancer patients. This is usually a clear sign that lung cancer has advanced and started to affect other organs of the body.
  • Loss of appetite – A long loss of appetite without any possible sign of normalizing can be a symptom of lung cancer. This is also very common during cancer treatment
  • Frequent respiratory infections – Repeated respiratory infections can also be a sign of lung cancer. The lung tumors caused by cancer can block the airways leading to diseases such as bronchitis and pneumonia to occur frequently.
  • Headaches – Headaches can be felt in lung cancer infections especially as a sign that the disease has affected the brain too. Lung tumors can in some instances insert pressure to the superior vena cava which transports blood from the upper part of the body to the heart. This pressure will impair the movement of blood and can trigger headaches. READ THE COMMON TYPES OF HEADACHES HERE
  • Weakness or fatigue – Tiredness is among the first symptoms of lung cancer. The person can feel mild fatigue or completely wiped out.
  • Pain while breathing – The narrowing of airways by tumors can cause pain when the person tries to breathe. This can be accompanied by chest pain and wheezing.
  • Bone pain –  Bone pain in lung cancer I a sign that the infection has spread to the bones. The pain is usually felt in the vertebrae or ribs.


Lung cancer symptoms can also be a sign of a different disease.

There is no need to panic when you witness any of the above signs unless you have gone for a diagnosis. Early diagnosis when you witness any of the above symptoms is very beneficial as it will help you to

Can lung cancer affect the heart?

Lung cancer can in some cases affect the heart if it develops near major blood vessels or near the heart itself. The tumors can exert pressure in the blood vessels and heart thus impairing blood pumping and flow.

Where do you feel lung pain?

Pain due to lung cancer can be felt at the back, chest or ribs.

Is lung cancer a death sentence?

Lung cancer is not a death sentence. There are advanced treatment methods currently invented and being used to efficiently treat lung cancer at any stage of the infection.

Is lung cancer very painful?

In some cases lung cancer can cause no pain but in some the pain can be felt at the chest, bones and while breathing. The pain is usually not very painful but it usually worsens in some cases.

Does blood in phlegm mean lung cancer?

It is not a guarantee that blood in phlegm is usually a sign of lung cancer because it can also be caused by bronchitis. In lung cancer infection blood in phlegm can also be witnessed but going for diagnosis to deduce the actual cause is good.

Lifon Jeffrey, MD, MPH

Lifon Jeffrey, MD, MPH Is the chief editor of The Healthline medical, health and nutritional articles. His 16 years of experience in the medical field have made him to become more familiar with the daily health related problems and nutritional difficulties people have. He edits all the articles to make sure all the information is accurate, up to date and suits the medical field.

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