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9 Early Signs Of Lung Cancer You Must Become Aware Of

By Chandana Rao

Imagine this, you are out for a short jog and all of a sudden, you start to feel out of breath and find it difficult to breathe!

This scenario can be rather scary, right? When you are having trouble breathing, even with simple physical activities, it could mean that your lungs are not as healthy as they are supposed to be.

The lungs are a pair of vital organs that are an integral part of the respiratory system in humans.

early signs of lung cancer

If your lungs are not healthy enough, be it due to reasons like age, certain diseases, habits like smoking, genetic condition, etc., it could make respiratory functions difficult to be carried out by the body.

So, you can only imagine what the consequences could be when a serious disease like cancer affects the lungs.
When cancerous cells develop and multiply in the lungs, it can seriously affect the tissues and the organ itself, eventually.

Lung cancer is one of the most fatal types of cancers, so it can be very helpful if a person would be able to recognise the symptoms early on, to get treated in time.

So, here are some of the early symptoms of lung cancer that you must know.

1. Persistent Cough

A cough is a very common ailment which could be a symptom of a number of minor health problems like allergies, common cold, flu, etc., So, people may not pay much attention to it. However, if you have been experiencing persistent cough, which has stayed for more than 2 months, even after taking cough medications, it could indicate the presence of lung cancer.

2. Rust Coloured Sputum

Many a times, when suffering from a chest congestion or flu, we tend to spit out sputum accumulated in our chest, by coughing it out. Usually, the sputum is milky white or slightly yellowish in colour - this indicates the presence of a regular bacterial infection. However, if you notice that your sputum is rust coloured or reddish in hue, it could be because blood is mixed with the sputum. Blood in the sputum is also an early sign of lung cancer.

3. Chest Pain

Chest pain is a common symptom of a number of ailments such as gastritis, fatigue, anaemia, stress, etc. So, when people experience mild chest pain, they may not think too much of it. However, if you are experiencing sharp aches in the chest every time you take deep breaths and while you laugh or cough, it could be yet another early sign of lung cancer and you must seek medical attention immediately!

4. Constant Fatigue

Fatigue, or feeling tired and weak, is very common, especially among people who have a busy lifestyle. Also, fatigue could be a symptom of conditions like nutritional deficiency, stress, etc., which are easily treatable. So, usually, people do not pay much attention when they are experiencing fatigue. But, constant fatigue, which is quite chronic in nature, which is seriously affecting your daily tasks, could indicate the presence of certain types of cancers, including lung cancer.

5. Change Of The Voice

If you notice that all of a sudden your voice has become hoarse or husky in tone, while speaking normally, it could be due to the presence of lung cancer. When the cancerous cells grow in the lungs, they affect the other parts of the respiratory system as well, including the vocal cord, resulting in a change in the voice.

6. Persistent Respiratory Infections

If you have been a victim of persistent respiratory infections such as bacterial cough, cold, bronchitis, pneumonia, etc., which keep coming back, even after treatment, then it could also be one of the early signs of lung cancer. Lung cancer weakens the respiratory system, making you more prone to infections.

7. Nervous System Problems

Yet another surprising early symptom of lung cancer is the problems of the nervous system, which affects balance and co-ordination of the body. The lungs are connected to certain parts of the brain through arteries, so the cancer can affect those parts of the brain too. Trouble getting up from a sitting position, weakening of shoulder muscles, etc., are a few signs that are related to this problem.

8. Gynecomastia

Gynecomastia is a condition in which there is a growth of excess breast tissues in men, giving the chest region an almost female-like appearance. Although, this condition is caused by hormonal imbalance and hereditary factors, it could also be an early sign of lung cancer. As the lungs are located close to the breast tissues, the cancerous cells can affect this region too; and it can be more obvious in men, as the region is usually flat.

9. Drooping Of The Eyelids

If the top-most parts of the lungs are affected by cancer, it could cause the drooping or weakness of the eyelids, as certain nerves at the top-most part of the lungs are connected to the nerves in the eyelids. This can also be an early sign of lung cancer.

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Story first published: Sunday, February 4, 2018, 15:00 [IST]
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