By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD
Lung cancer does not usually present with any symptoms in the early stages of disease, meaning it is difficult to detect and diagnose while there is the highest chance of treatment being successful.
The main symptoms of lung cancer include the following and people should seek medical attention of they develop any of these signs.
- A cough that persists for more than three weeks
- Ongoing chest infections
- Pain on coughing or breathing
- Coughing up blood
- Shortness of breath
- Unexplained loss of weight
- Unexplained weakness and fatigue
- Loss of appetite
Some less common symptoms of lung cancer include the following:
- Curving of the fingers or enlargement of the finger ends, referred to as finger clubbing.
- A fever, with a temperatures of 38°C (100.4°F) or higher
- Hoarseness of the voice
- Swelling in the face and neck
- Difficulty swallowing
- Pain on swallowing
- Persistent chest pain
- Persistent shoulder pain
Symptoms of metastatic disease
Symptoms that specifically indicate spread or metastasis of the lung cancer include bone pain, weight loss and signs that the nervous system is affected such as headache, convulsion, weakness in the limbs, or fainting.
Common sites that the cancer may have spread to include the adrenal glands, the brain, the bones, the pericardium and the kidneys.
Reviewed by Sally Robertson, BSc
Last Updated: Nov 11, 2014