Symptoms of lung cancer may get misdiagnosed as a different illness. Therefore, it is important to be familiar with all the symptoms of lung cancer. These could help you get treatment early and possibly save your life. The symptoms discussed in this article could indicate other conditions, but they could also be caused by lung cancer.
1. Nail Clubbing
Nail clubbing is where the shape and structure of your fingernails or toenails change. They take on the appearance of a spoon that has been turned upside down.
The nail becomes red in appearance and takes on a sponge-like texture. This symptom may happen on its own. It could happen in connection with a persistent cough, shortness of breath, and respiratory symptoms.
There are several causes of nail clubbing. These include heart disease and issues with your digestive tract. However, in approximately 90 percent of the cases, nail clubbing is a sign of lung cancer. It is worth mentioning that clubbing may be normal if it is present in other family members.
Nail clubbing is caused by a buildup of tissue on the fringes of the fingers. Clubbing usually happens slowly. However, it can appear quickly in some people. When the underlying cause of the clubbing is resolved, it will go away.
2. Loss of Voice
If you go to a concert or your favorite sporting event and spend the entire time screaming, you expect to be hoarse the next day. However, sudden hoarseness or a sudden change in voice could indicate lung cancer.
You are able to talk because your vocal cords open and close, creating vibrations. Lung cancer can affect the laryngeal nerve, which affects your vocal cords. This could cause your voice to change completely or cause you to go hoarse.
Hoarseness is a common symptom of several conditions. The most common condition is laryngitis. However, if you notice hoarseness that lasts for two or more weeks, you may wish to consult a medical professional as this could be an early sign of lung cancer.
3. Your Arm and Shoulder Feels Weak
If you were playing baseball and throwing pitches for hours, you would expect to wake up the next day with a sore or even slightly numb shoulder. However, if you experience shoulder soreness and weakness with no exertion, it is a cause for alarm.
The sensation in your shoulder is caused by nerves that lead to your arm If you develop a Pancoast tumor on the top of your lung, it may put pressure on those nerves, resulting in muscle weakness, numbness, and pain. Shoulder pain linked to lung cancer can appear out of the blue. It is intense and persistent. It is not linked to any other cause. If you experience this, speak to a medical professional.
4. You Need to Urinate More
The link between increased urination and lung cancer may not be immediately apparent. You may think that your increased desire to drink more water and to urinate more is just because it is hot out or because you have been exerting yourself. However, sudden extreme thirst is not natural. It is something that you should discuss with the medical professional.
Some cancers, like lung cancer, can trigger hormones in your body that change the way your body functions. These lead to a group of symptoms known as a paraneoplastic syndrome. In lung cancer patients, these symptoms are often the first sign that there is a problem.
When a person develops lung cancer, the level of calcium in their blood increases. This causes frequent thirst and frequent urination.
5. You Stopped Smoking
If you have been smoking for some time, you know how hard it is to quit. However, many people stop smoking shortly before their doctor diagnoses them with lung cancer.
Some people stop smoking because they want to minimize the symptoms they experience, like shortness of breath, coughing, and pain, while breathing. However, many lung cancer patients find it surprisingly easy to quit. Many experts think this is because cancer cells in the lungs interfere with nicotine addiction. There are several health benefits derived when you stop smoking. However, if it feels like all of a sudden it is extremely easy to quit, this may be something you want to mention to your doctor during your medical checkup.
6. Increased Mental Health Issues and Anxiety
Lung cancer patients develop anxiety, depressive disorder, and other mental health conditions even before the disease is diagnosed. Many lung cancer survivors who had reached stage IV of the disease were later diagnosed with psychiatric disorders.
7. Fatigue and Dizziness
There are several reasons why you may feel fatigued and dizzy. However, in lung cancer patients, it is often linked to anemia. Anemia involves low levels of red blood cells. It is common for lung cancer patients to experience chronic fatigue.
Some people who have lung cancer do not link their exhaustion and dizziness to lung cancer because they have never smoked in their lives. The truth is that lung cancer affects smokers and non-smokers alike. In fact, lung cancer is one of the leading causes of death among men and women. The sad truth of lung cancer is that it does not exhibit typical lung cancer symptoms until the condition has progressed to the point where it is too late. This is why it is important for people to pay attention to symptoms of fatigue and dizziness and talk to their physician early on.
8. Unexplained Upper Body Bruising
If you fell and hurt yourself or engaged in contact sports, bruising and swelling are part of the game. However, unexplained bruising and swelling could indicate lung cancer.
The superior vena cava is a major vein that carries blood from the head and arms to the heart. Lung cancer tumors can push on this vein and lead to blood pooling in different parts of the body. This leads to swelling in the arms, chest, and neck. You may notice bruising and puffy facial features. The swelling is often accompanied by red or blue-tinted skin.
9. Difficulty Digesting Food
While you may not readily link lung cancer to conditions that affect the stomach, the truth is that your body works together like a machine. When one part of the machine is damaged, it can affect the way another part of the machine functions.
Lung cancer causes your body to change its hormone production. Twenty percent of cancer patients develop excessive calcium in their blood. This leads to nausea, upset stomach, and constipation.
10. Horner Syndrome
This is also caused by Pancoast tumors. Horner Syndrome is where a tumor affects the nerves that control movement and sensation in the eyes or face. You may have one pupil that is smaller than the other. You may see a drooping or weakness in one of your eyes. You may notice that one side of your face sweats normally while the other side does not sweat at all. These could be indications of lung cancer.
The Importance of Early Cancer Screening
Early cancer screening allows medical professionals to detect cancer in patients early. The earlier cancer is identified, the greater chance a patient has that their treatment will be successful. Conversely, if cancer care is delayed, the chances for survival are reduced. Early diagnosis improves outcomes drastically because it allows doctors to give care at the earliest possible stage. This makes promoting early cancer diagnosis a key part of any public health strategy.
Cancer screening takes early diagnosis to a different stage. Screening presumes that there is a need to check people for cancer even though they appear healthy and are asymptomatic. These are examinations that can be quickly applied to the population. Screening programs include inviting people to be screened and making the screening process effective and affordable.
Early diagnosis of lung cancer means that 90 percent of lung cancer patients can survive the disease for at least one year as long as they are diagnosed in the earliest stage. However, only one in five people will survive at least one year with lung cancer if it is diagnosed in a more advanced stage.
You must be your own health advocate. If you spot something unusual or notice some of the symptoms mentioned above, don’t put it off. Speak to your doctor. In most cases, it won’t be cancer. However, in the off chance that it is, finding it early makes all the difference.
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