Symptoms and Diagnosis of Lung Cancer
More than 25% of patients with lung cancer have no symptoms when the cancer is diagnosed. It is usually identified incidentally with a chest X-ray performed for other reasons. The other 75% patients develop some symptoms which may be due to the direct effects of the primary tumour, metastases or disturbances of hormones, blood, or other systems.
Symptoms of lung cancer include cough, coughing up blood or rusty-coloured phlegm, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, chest pain, recurrent respiratory infections, hoarseness, new wheezing, and shortness of breath. Symptoms of metastatic cancer depend on the extent and location of the cancer spread. About 30-40% of people with lung cancer have some symptoms or signs of metastatic disease
Lung Cancer Metastasis:
- Lung cancer most often spreads to the liver, the bones, and the brain.
- Metastatic lung cancer in the liver may cause yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice) but it may not cause any noticeable symptoms at the time of diagnosis.
- Lung cancer that has metastasized to the bone causes bone pain, usually in the bones of the spine (vertebrae), the thigh bones, and the ribs.
- Lung cancer that spreads to the brain can cause difficulties with vision, weakness on one side of the body, and/or seizures.
- Paraneoplastic syndromes are the remote, indirect effects of
cancer not related to direct invasion. Symptoms include the
- New bone formation - particularly in the fingertips that can be painful
- High levels of calcium in the blood
- Blood clots
- Low sodium levels in the blood