Cancer is one of the most dreaded diseases that one could go through in a lifetime. Lung cancer is one of the major causes of death all over Pakistan. It occurs due to a rapid growth of cancer cells in the lung tissues. If not treated in time, these cells can multiply, or metastasize into other parts of the body, thereby creating tumors. Lung cancer remains, by far, one of the deadliest cancers to affect both, men and women. Here are 8 lung cancer warning signs that you need to know.
A cough seems to be a common symptom, associated with many viral or bacterial infections, such as flu and the common cold. However, in a cold or respiratory infection, the cough disappears after a week or two. A persistent or stubborn cough may be a a symptom of lung cancer. Therefore, if your cough has been lingering on for some time, whether it produces mucus or is dry, get it checked since it may be more dangerous than you think.
At this stage, your cough has turned into a chronic cough. It tends to get deeper, making your voice sound hoarse, and the changes are especially common if you smoke. Additionally, you may be coughing up blood or an excessive amount of mucus. There are many diseases that are associated to coughing up blood, and lung cancer is one of the most common of such diseases.
The intense coughing may lead to shortness of breath or heavy breathing, making the chances of lung cancer even more steep. Furthermore, you may experience bronchitis or pneumonia. Bronchitis occurs when the bronchial tubes carrying air to the lungs becomes swollen or infected. This leads to severe chronic coughing, often accompanied by blood and mucus.
Wheezing is often followed by bronchitis, and is a common symptom of lung cancer. It occurs when the airways become inflamed or constricted, producing a wheezing sound from the lungs whenever one breathes. Wheezing is often experienced when one has asthma or an allergy, which is why it may seem normal. However, continuous wheezing should be immediately checked by the doctor.
Chest pain is one of the main symptoms of lung cancer. One may even experience pain in the back or the shoulders. In lung cancer, the pain is a result of enlarged lymph nodes to the lining around the lungs, or the chest wall. This wall is called pleura, better known as the ribs, and cancer cells travelling from the primary location to other areas is called metastasis.
Bone Aches and Pains
When lung cancer spreads to the bones, it can cause severe discomfort. This occurs especially so in the back, and sometimes in the shoulders, arms or neck. Since we sleep on our backs, the pain may become worse at night. Bone and muscle pain is distinguished by intensity of pain as a factor, and that bone pain is worse increases and becomes worse at night and with movement.
Headaches and Migraines
There are two reasons why lung cancer may be associated with headaches. Firstly, lung cancer may spread to the brain. Secondly, it may be due to the pressure that a tumor is likely to put on the superior vena cava, a large vein that transports blood to the heart. Due to this pressure, headaches may be experienced.
Unexplained Weight Loss
One of the common symptoms of not just lung cancer, but many other cancerous diseases, is a sudden drop in weight. This weight loss is usually drastic enough to be noticed, and makes the person appear weaker. This is because with cancer, energy from the body is used up by cancer cells. Furthermore, metabolism becomes affected as well as appetite, which is also a reason why weight loss may occur.
In conclusion, these common symptoms may seem natural and innocuous, but should be dealt with by a doctor immediately if they occur persistently. Therefore, after a certain age, one must not brush off health issues by calling them “old age problems”. These problems can be solved if treated in time, and lead to a much better and comfortable old age.