Symptoms and Signs of Lung Cancer
There is no any special symptomatology of lung cancers. The disease should develop in order to reveal some symptoms. However, if one is vigilant enough and visits the doctor at onset of initial symptoms of the disease, the therapy started in time can be very effective.
Therefore, one should know the following initial symptoms of lung cancer:
- Persistent cough, which grows worse;
- Spitting blood or rust-colored expectoration;
- Stethalgia, which grows worse with sough, tussis or laughing;
- Body weight loss and lack of appetite;
- Labored breathing;
- Sensation of weariness;
- Diseases as long- lasting bronchitis and pneumonia;
- Hissing respiration.
Lung cancer can produce distant diseases. Thus, it may lead to the following symptoms:
- Pain in bones, which reminds one`s pain in back or hips;
- Disorders in nerves (for instance: headache, weakness or numbness of an arm or leg, dizziness, balance problems, or seizures), which happen due to cancer spreading to brain or spinal cord;
- Icterus of skin and eyes due to the cancer spread to the liver;
- Subdermal lumps, which appear due to the fact that cancer spread to the skin or lymph. Usually, they can be found in the neck or above the collarbone.
There is a likelihood that the majority of such symptoms above belong to other diseases, not related to lung cancer. However, in case you have any of them, you should consult your doctor in order to reveal the real cause of your disorder and start to treat it. There are lung cancers, which can form syndromes. Such syndromes are a number of special symptoms.
Top part lung cancers (also known as Pancoast tumors) can impact some eye or face nerves, producing symptomatology of Horne syndrome:
- Eyelid drooping;
- Pinhole pupil of an eye;
- Reduced or absent sweating on one and the same side of patient`s face;
- Top part lung cancer can lead to severe shoulder pains.
Superior Vena Cava Disease
SVC (superior vena cava) provides the head and arms with blood and then delivers it to the head. This big vein passes close by the upper part of the right lung and the lymph nodes inside the chest. Thus, tumors located in this area, can constrict the SVC, which can make the blood back up in the veins. As a result, one`s face, neck, arms or upper chest can swell. There can be headaches, dizziness and alteration of consciousness, when cancer impacts the brain. SVC syndrome can become fatal, therefore, it should be treated as soon as possible.
There are lung cancers, which produce biologically active substances. These substances get into the blood flow and damage distant tissues and organs. This process is called paraneoplastic disease. From time to time, this disease is the initial symptom of lung cancer. Due to the fact, that these symptoms impact not lungs, but some other organs, doctors as well as their patients can first think of some other diseases not relating to cancer.
There are the following usual paraneoplastic syndromes related to lung cancers:
- SIADH (syndrome of inappropriate anti-diuretic hormone), which means that malignant cells produce an Anti-Diuretic Hormone. This hormone makes kidneys retain liquid. Thus, salt levels lower in the blood. In this case, patients can have fatigue, loss of appetite, muscle weakness or cramps, nausea, vomiting, restlessness, and confusion. If it is not treated, one can have seizures and coma.
- Cushing’s basophilism: cancer cells produce adrenocorticotropic hormone. It is a hormone, which makes adrenal glands secrete cortisol. In this case, one can have weight gain, easy bruising, weakness, drowsiness, and fluid retention. Cushing syndrome can also cause high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels (or even diabetes).
- Disorder in nerves. Lung cancer can make immune system attack areas of one`s nerves. This can provoke a number of problems. For instance, there is a Lambert-Eaton syndrome. In this case, muscles around the hips become weak. As a result, one can have troubles with getting up from a sitting position. Later, muscles around the shoulder can become weak. A rarer problem is paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration, which can cause loss of balance and unsteadiness in arm and leg movement, as well as trouble speaking or swallowing.
- High level of calcium in blood (hypercalcemia). In this case, patients can have such symptoms as urination, thirst, constipation, nausea, vomiting, belly pain, weakness, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, and other nervous system problems.
- Hypernormal growth or thickening of some bones: It can happen with finger tips. It is painful.
- Caked blood.
- Excess breast growth of men (mammary feminism).
Just note: the majority of these symptoms can be produced by other diseases not related to lung cancer. However, in case you notice any of disorders mentioned above, it is strongly recommended to see your doctor as soon as possible in order to reveal the real cause of your health problem and find the treatment, if required.