Lung cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the lungs. Your lungs are two spongy organs in your chest that take in oxygen when you inhale and release carbon dioxide when you exhale.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide.
People who smoke have the greatest risk of lung cancer, though lung cancer can also occur in people who have never smoked. The risk of lung cancer increases with the length of time and number of cigarettes you've smoked. If you quit smoking, even after smoking for many years, you can significantly reduce your chances of developing lung cancer.
Lung cancer typically doesn't cause signs and
symptoms in its earliest stages. Signs and symptoms of lung cancer
typically occur when the disease is advanced.
Symptom: Persistent Cough
A cough that doesn’t go away or worsens into a chronic “smoker’s cough” is one of the most common symptoms of lung cancer. If you are coughing up blood or rust-colored spit/phlegm, see your doctor immediately.
Symptom: Shortness of Breath
Shortness of breath could also be a sign of lung cancer. If a lung cancer tumor is blocking a major airway, it could cause shortness of breath. Sometimes fluid in the lungs can make breathing difficult and this could also be a sign of lung cancer. See your doctor if you have shortness of breath that concerns you.
Has your voice changed? Does it sound raspy? Are you hoarse? Has anyone pointed out that your voice sounds high-pitched? These changes in your voice could indicate lung cancer. You should make an appointment with your doctor to have any changes in your voice checked out.
Chronic bronchitis or pneumonia that doesn’t go away or that keeps coming back could be a sign of lung cancer. If you have symptoms of bronchitis or pneumonia, such as a cough, shortness of breath, slight fever and chills and chest discomfort, see your doctor for treatment as soon as possible.
Symptom: Chest Pain
If you have pain in your chest, it could be an indicator of lung cancer. This is especially true if the chest pain often is worse when you breathe deeply, cough or laugh. See your doctor if you have chest pain that gets worse when breathing deeply, coughing or laughing.
Symptom: Unexplained Weight Loss
Have you lost weight for no reason? One of the first signs of cancer, including lung cancer, is unexplained weight loss. If you have lost 10 pounds or more and you haven’t been trying, see your doctor immediately.
Symptom: Bone Pain
Some researchers estimate that about 5% of lung cancer deaths worldwide are due to outdoor air pollution. People who live in cities, especially near high traffic roads, have a slightly increased risk of lung cancer. Follow recommendations for avoiding exposure such as exercising in the morning or staying indoors on high-pollution days. Check air quality forecasts to decide about your outdoor activities. Check AirNow.gov to keep an eye on your air quality.