Top 10 Warnings Signs of Lung Cancer You Can’t Ignore

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Lung cancer is one of the top most common types of cancers in the world. So common, in fact, that it’s been estimated that 1 out of every 14 people in America will be diagnosed with lung cancer, according to the US National Cancer Institute. Lung cancer has even surpassed breast cancer as one of the most common cause of cancer related deaths for women.

Prevention and early treatment can save lives. Be aware of the risk factors and become familiar with the warnings signs might save your life.

Risk Factors

  • Air Pollution – Prolonged exposure to high levels of air pollution can increase your risk of developing cancer.
  • Age – Less than 3 percent of people under 45 develop lung cancer. If you are over 65, you should be aware that almost 70 percent of those diagnosed with lung cancer are over 65. If you are over 45 years of age, you should be extra aware of the early warning signs.
  • Smoking – Approximately 90 percent of lung cancer cases are the result of tobacco use. Your risk increases the longer you smoke and the more cigarettes you smoke. Smokers who use two or more packs of cigarettes per day have a 1 in 7 risk of developing lung cancer.
  • Passive Smoking – Tobacco smoke is loaded with carcinogens, and you breathe those in anytime you are near those who are smoking.
  • Lung Disease – If you have COPD or other types of lung disease, or scarring of the lungs, your risk of cancer is increased.
  • Asbestos Fibers or Chemical Exposure – Although asbestos has been banned in most countries, it was widely used until recently. You may have come into contact with asbestos and not been aware of it. Also, exposure to certain chemicals such as nickel, coal, silica, and arsenic will also increase your risk of developing this deadly cancer.
  • Radon Gas – This is a natural, radioactive gas that is the product of uranium. It is odorless, invisible, and can come through the soil, into the foundations of your house, and then enter your home and you won’t be aware of it. You should have your home tested for radon gas.
  • Heredity – If you have a family history of lung cancer, you will also have an increased risk of developing cancer.

Although the early warning signs of lung cancer often seem insignificant, it is important that if you have any doubts, have your doctor check and confirm whether or not you have lung cancer.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

The 10 Warning Signs of Lung Cancer

 

1. Bloody Phlegm

Anytime you cough up bloody phlegm, it should be a warning sign that something is wrong. Although this doesn’t necessary mean that you absolutely have lung cancer, it is a sign that something is wrong and you need to have this symptom checked out as soon as possible by a physician. If this symptom is also accompanied by other symptoms listed below, you should make an appointment and tell the doctor that it’s urgent.

 

2.  Persistent Cough

This is perhaps one of the most common signs. It doesn’t have to be a deep cough, but a stubborn cough that won’t go away within two or three weeks is a sign to see your doctor. If you smoke, you most likely have what is called “smokers hack,” but if your normal cough should change, for instance if you are coughing more often or more deeply, then check with a physician.

 

3. Hand and Finger Pain

This is a symptom that is often overlooked but can signal lung cancer. In many cases, the skin on the palms of the hands will thicken and become white (sometimes referred to as tripe palms) with some pronounced folds; this is a sign that cancer is most likely present. This strange occurrence to the palms also happens with stomach cancer. This is caused by the cancer making drastic changes in the normal bodily processes. In this case, the skin cells become hyper-stimulated, which causes an overgrowth of skin cells and produces palms that have a build-up of thick, white, scaly skin.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

4. Shortness of Breath

Although this is sometimes a sign of other lung problems, or even heart problems, it is frequently a sign of lung cancer. This happens when a lung tumor narrows or blocks the airway, or if there is fluid buildup in the chest. If you find yourself short of breath doing things you used to do easily in the recent past, consult a doctor.

 

5. Voice Changes

If you notice significant changes in your voice, such as hoarseness or if it becomes deeper, that isn’t related to a recent cold or flu virus, you should consult your doctor, as this is another common sign of lung cancer.

 

6. Chest or Bone Pain

One symptom of lung cancer is persistent pain in the chest, back, or shoulder area. Lung cancer that has spread to the bones will cause pain in that area. If you experience persistent pain in these areas, don’t allow your doctor to pooh pooh them as nothing serious, especially if you have any other symptoms listed here. Insist that you are tested for lung cancer.

 

7.  Wheezing or Whistling Sounds

If you have allergies or asthma, wheezing or whistling noises are sometimes common, but if you don’t have either of these two health conditions, and you suddenly start making unusual sounds when you breathe such as whistling, wheezing, or gurgling, this might be the early warning sign you need to see your doctor.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

8.  Recurring Chest Infections

If you get numerous infections, such as pneumonia and/or bronchitis, that never really disappear or that keep coming back, you should tell you doctor as soon as possible.

 

9.  Unexplained Weight Loss

Although losing weight can be attributed to many different health conditions, this is also another sign of lung cancer. If you are losing weight, feel fatigued, and/or experience weakness that you cannot explain, you should see your doctor immediately.

 

SEE ALSO: The Deadly Cancer No One Talks About

 

10. Irregular Breast Tissue

Cancer encourages the secretion of unusual or excessive hormones. When men develop abnormal breast tissue, this is normally due to lung cancer. Most men will attribute this to some other factor in their life, or they simply ignore it, but this would be a mistake. If you cannot explain a health issue, you should always discuss it with your doctor.

To lower your risk of developing lung cancer:

  • Stop smoking
  • Avoid others who are smoking
  • Have your home tested for radon gas
  • Avoid breathing in any type of chemical, including gasoline vapors
  • Eat a healthy diet with plenty of organic fruits and vegetables

Although lung cancer kills more than 1 million people each year, it is not a death sentence. Early diagnosis will give you more than a 50 percent chance of survival over those who ignore their early warning signs and wait to see a doctor until the disease has spread to other organs.

References:

Elekta.com

Mayoclinic.org

Cancerresearchuk.org