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Lung cancer symptoms

The early symptoms of lung cancer may be a slight cough or shortness of breath, depending on which part of the lung is affected. As the cancer develops, these symptoms may become more severe or intense. Like many other types of cancer, lung cancer may also cause systemic symptoms, like a loss of appetite or general fatigue.

Video: Lung Cancer Symptoms

Lung Cancer Symptoms

Small cell lung cancer symptoms

Most of the signs associated with small cell lung cancer are not present until the cancer has progressed. Typically, symptoms of small cell lung cancer continue to evolve and worsen as the disease spreads to distant organs.

Early symptoms of small cell lung cancer

  • Persistent cough
  • Chest pains that get worse with deep breathing, laughing or coughing
  • Hoarseness
  • Unexplained loss of appetite and weight
  • Coughing up blood or rust-colored phlegm
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling weak and/or tired
  • Bronchitis, pneumonia or other infections that keep recurring
  • Wheezing

Symptoms of advanced-stage small cell lung cancer

  • Bone pain
  • Headaches, dizziness or limbs that become weak or numb
  • Jaundice
  • Lumps in the neck or collar bone region

Paraneoplastic syndromes & lung cancer

Sometimes small cell lung cancer can cause paraneoplastic syndromes. While not always the case, these syndromes are often early signs of small cell lung cancer.

Small cell lung cancer may cause one of these three paraneoplastic syndromes: Syndrome of Inappropriate Anti-Diuretic Hormone (SIADH), Cushing Syndrome or Lambert-Eaton Syndrome.

Understanding cancer symptoms

These symptoms may be attributed to a number of conditions other than cancer. If you notice any cancer signs or symptoms, it's important to visit your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

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Call or chat with an Oncology Information Specialist. We're here 24/7.

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Navigating a diagnosis of lung cancer

podcast mod

Dr. Bruce Gershenhorn discusses lung cancer and advances in treatment.

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