Symptoms of lung cancer you should know

We all know people who have suffered and died with cancer.  If someone was developing lung cancer would we know what to look for? 

The
sad thing is that in the early stages of lung cancer there is no symptoms to be seen.

One of the first symptoms to appear is shortness of breath with a raspy sound as the airways are becoming blocked.  Chronic hacking cough sometimes with blood streaked mucus appear.  Recurring respiratory infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia and complaints of chest pain.

You will notice swelling in the face and neck and a hoarseness to their voice.  Fatigue and loss of appetite are two complaints that are voiced many times by people who are in early stages of cancer.  There will also be be pain in the shoulder, arm and the hands.
There are 2 types of cancer groups.  The first is small cell and the second group is non small cell cancer.  Treatments are different for each group.

In order to understand cancer better we need to realize that cancer cells are mutated cells.  They are not cells that are normally unique to the body and when the mutation takes place the body can not seem to organize a defense against this foreign subject.

Cancer cells do not try to destroy normal body cells in the sense that bacteria or a virus would.  It sets about changing and altering the cells and the immune system.  This attack knows no boundaries in the genetic scope of the human body.  Cancer cells grow much faster than normal cells and with no early signs to show can explain the dismal prognosis for cancer patients.

According to the American Cancer Society that there was 224,210 new cases of lung cancer in 2014.  While tobacco is the leading cause, there are also people who have never smoked or been around smokers have developed lung cancer.

Small Cell Cancer makes up approximately 15% of the lung cancer patients.  They attack the air tubes of the lungs and cells in the lung tissue.  They can produce very large tumors that block the flow of air and the bloodstream of the lung system.  They main victoms are long term heavy tobacco smokers.

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer  makes up the remaining 85% of all cancer patients.  While this type of cancer may start in the lungs it will soon spread through out the body in undiagnosed and untreated.  These cells are slow growing but in time will enter the lymph system, bones, liver and brain.

The 5 year outlook for lung cancer patients has a lower survival rate than any of the other cancers affected us today.  Early detection is essential and since there are no early warning signs to be seen our loved ones can be our first observations of something may be wrong.

The problem with the early symptoms are that they may appear to be any kind or type of many illnesses.  What might appear as something simple may in all actuality be some form of a more serious illness.  If you notice changes in mood, skin color, trouble breathing, swelling or rapid weight loss, someone easily disoriented or sudden loss of balance and trouble breathing need to be checked.

It might be something as small as a cold but better to be safe and found out for sure.  Early on there is no sign or symptom of cancer but early detection is the key to survival.

Sometimes, cancer cells release substances into the bloodstream that cause symptoms that are not usually linked to cancer. For example, some cancers of the pancreas can release substances that cause blood clots in veins of the legs. Some lung cancers make hormone-like substances that raise blood calcium levels. This affects nerves and muscles, making the person feel weak and dizzy.

How are signs and symptoms helpful?
Treatment works best when cancer is found early – while it’s still small and is less likely to have spread to other parts of the body. This often means a better chance for a cure, especially if the cancer can be removed with surgery.

A good example of the importance of finding cancer early is melanoma skin cancer. It can be easy to remove if it has not grown deep into the skin. The 5-year survival rate (percentage of people who live at least 5 years after diagnosis) at this early stage is around 98%. Once melanoma has spread to other parts of the body, the 5-year survival rate drops to about 16%.

Sometimes people ignore symptoms.

Maybe they don’t know that the symptoms could mean something is wrong. Or they might be frightened by what the symptoms could mean and don’t want to get medical help. Maybe they just can’t afford to get medical care.

Some symptoms, such as tiredness or coughing, are more likely caused by something other than cancer. Symptoms can seem unimportant, especially if there’s a clear cause or the problem only lasts a short time. In the same way, a person may reason that a symptom like a breast lump is probably a cyst that will go away by itself. But no symptom should be ignored or overlooked, especially if it has lasted a long time or is getting worse.

Most likely, symptoms are not caused by cancer, but it’s important to have them checked out, just in case. If cancer is not the cause, a doctor can help figure out what the cause is and treat it, if needed.

Sometimes, it’s possible to find cancer before having symptoms. The American Cancer Society and other health groups recommend cancer-related check-ups and certain tests for people even though they have no symptoms. This helps find certain cancers early, before symptoms start. For more information on early detection tests, see our document called American Cancer Society Guidelines for the Early Detection of Cancer. But keep in mind, even if you have these recommended tests, it’s still important to see a doctor if you have any symptoms.

What are some general signs and symptoms of cancer?

You should know some of the general signs and symptoms of cancer. But remember, having any of these does not mean that you have cancer – many other things cause these signs and symptoms, too. If you have any of these symptoms and they last for a long time or get worse, please see a doctor to find out what’s going on.

Unexplained weight loss

Most people with cancer will lose weight at some point. When you lose weight for no known reason, it’s called an unexplained weight loss. An unexplained weight loss of 10 pounds or more may be the first sign of cancer. This happens most often with cancers of the pancreas, stomach, esophagus (swallowing tube), or lung.

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Fever

Fever is very common with cancer, but it more often happens after cancer has spread from where it started. Almost all people with cancer will have fever at some time, especially if the cancer or its treatment affects the immune system. (This can make it harder for the body to fight infection.) Less often, fever may be an early sign of cancer, such as blood cancers like leukemia or lymphoma.

Fatigue

Fatigue is extreme tiredness that doesn’t get better with rest. It may be an important symptom as cancer grows. But it may happen early in some cancers, like leukemia. Some colon or stomach cancers can cause blood loss that’s not obvious. This is another way cancer can cause fatigue.

Pain

Pain may be an early symptom with some cancers like bone cancers or testicular cancer. A headache that does not go away or get better with treatment may be a symptom of a brain tumor. Back pain can be a symptom of cancer of the colon, rectum, or ovary. Most often, pain due to cancer means it has already spread (metastasized) from where it started.

Skin changes

Along with skin cancers, some other cancers can cause skin changes that can be seen. These signs and symptoms include:

-Darker looking skin (hyper-pigmentation)
– Yellowish skin and eyes (jaundice)
– Reddened skin (erythema)
– Itching (pruritis)
– Excessive hair growth

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