What are the signs and symptoms of lung cancer?

In its early stages, lung cancer may not show any signs and symptoms as most of the symptoms start showing as the tumor grows and makes changes in the body such as shortness of breath and cough. It is also important to know that non small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer show the same symptoms.

What are the common early signs of lung cancer?

The most common early signs and symptoms of lung cancer are listed below

  • Wheezing>
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Recurrent chest infections like bronchitis
  • Build up of fluid around the lungs
  • Chest pain
  • Blood in the mucus when coughed up from the lungs

Horner Syndrome

In the case of non small cell lung cancer, Horner syndrome is common.  Horner syndrome is a group of symptoms that may be a sign of lung cancer that is growing into the nerves of the lungs. These symptoms include:

  • Severe shoulder pain
  • Drooping or weakness of the eyelid
  • Little or no sweating on the face at the same side of the weak or drooping eyelid.

Paraneoplastic Syndromes

In the case of small cell lung cancer, paraneoplastic syndromes are common. Paraneoplastic syndromes are a group of symptoms that are caused when substances released by cancer cells cause changes in the normal cells. Some of the paraneoplastic syndromes are listed below.

Cushing syndrome

In Cushing syndrome, the body makes high amounts of corticosteroids. In this syndrome the most common side effect is high blood pressure, high blood sugar and muscle weakness.


Hypercalcemia is a condition where there is too much calcium in the blood. The signs of hypercalcemia include frequent urination, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, disorientation and difficulty in thinking.

Lambert- Eaton syndrome

The Lambert- Eaton syndrome is mainly caused due to the lack of a chemical that sends messages between the nerves and muscles. The most common signs and symptoms seen in the Lambert-Eaton syndrome are muscle weakness, difficulty in climbing stairs, loss of movements and difficulty in chewing.

When to visit doctor based on lung cancer symptoms ?

It is important to visit the doctor at the earliest if you notice a persistent cough or blood in the mucus when coughing. It is always better to get checked if your symptoms persist and are if concern to you.

When to visit a cancer specialist?

A cancer specialist should be visited once the general physician finds abnormal changes. A cancer specialist will lead you onto further tests, diagnosis and treatments.

Read more on how is lung cancer diagnosed

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