Lung cancer typically offers very few signs or symptoms in its early stages. They develop with the disease and include:

  • a persistent cough for three weeks or more, which can worsen at moments during the day
  • a cough that gets worse with time
  • frequent chest infections that do not get better with treatment
  • coughing up blood, even in small amounts
  • aches when breathing or coughing
  • persistent breathing difficulties
  • feeling tired and lacking energy
  • loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss

Some types of lung cancer produce hormones that spread into the bloodstream, that can cause symptoms that may not seem to be related to lung cancer:

  • numbness in the hands and feet
  • muscle weakness
  • drowsiness, weakness, dizziness, and confusion
  • breast swelling in men
  • blood clots

Specialists call these symptoms paraneoplastic syndrome.

When the lung cancer grows at the top of the lung, it is called a pancoast tumor and causes very specific symptoms, which include:

  • severe shoulder pain that may spread down the arm
  • Horner’s syndrome, which includes drooping or weakness in one eyelid, a small pupil in the same eye, and loss of the ability to sweat on one side of the face. These symptoms are due to pressure on, or damage to, a nerve that runs from the neck to the face.

If the cancer has spread beyond the lung where it started, and become an advanced cancer, less common symptoms may appear, including:

  • finger clubbing (changes in the shape of the fingers, with them becoming more curved with the tips becoming larger)
  • fever (38ºC; 100.4ºF, or higher)
  • swallowing difficulties or pain
  • wheezing
  • hoarseness
  • swelling of the face and/or the neck
  • a chest or shoulder pain that does not go away
  • muscle wasting (also known as cachexia)
  • fatigue
  • headaches, bone, or joint pain
  • bone fractures that are not related to an accident or injury
  • neurological symptoms, such as gait or memory loss
  • bleeding and blood clots

It is important to make an appointment with a specialist if any of these signs or symptoms concern you.

Note: Lung Cancer News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.