Symptoms of Lung Cancer
by Debra Wood, RN
Symptoms do not usually appear until lung cancer is in advanced stages. If you experience any symptoms, do not assume it is due to cancer. Many symptoms can be caused by other less serious conditions, such as pneumonia or pleurisy. However, it is still important to discuss them with your doctor. Early detection and treatment improve outcomes for both cancer and other health conditions.
Symptoms may differ depending on the location of the tumor or how long it has been growing. The most common symptoms of lung cancer are:
Later stages of cancer may cause:
Certain types of lung tumors can also trigger other syndromes in the body, called paraneoplastic syndromes. They occur when the tumor secretes hormones that influence bodily functions. Specific syndromes associated with lung cancer may indicate the presence of the disease.
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Signs and symptoms of non-small cell lung cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/non-small-cell-lung-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/signs-symptoms.html. Updated May 16, 2016. Accessed August 30, 2017.
Signs and symptoms of small cell lung cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/small-cell-lung-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/signs-symptoms.html. Updated May 16, 2016. Accessed August 30, 2017.
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Small cell lung cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/lung/hp/small-cell-lung-treatment-pdq. Updated January 20, 2017. Accessed August 30, 2017.
Symptoms. American Lung Association website. Available at:
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Updated November 3, 2016. Accessed August 30, 2017.
Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
Last Updated: 7/12/2016
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