Lung cancer often doesn’t cause symptoms in its early stages. But as the cancer grows, you may develop warning signs, such as a persistent cough or shortness of breath.
Any symptoms you experience may vary based on factors such as tumor location and the specific type of lung cancer you have.
Keep reading to learn about the more and less common symptoms of lung cancer, as well as risk factors for the disease.
Lung cancer can cause symptoms that affect your lungs and general symptoms similar to those of many other types of cancer.
Some of the rarer symptoms of lung cancer are associated with certain types of lung cancer.
Depending on the location of the cancer or how your immune system responds to it, these types of cancer may cause their own unique set of symptoms.
Cancers located in the upper part of the lungs are called Pancoast tumors. These tumors can affect the nerves of the eyes and face.
Symptoms associated with these tumors are known collectively as Horner syndrome. They include:
- drooping of one eyelid
- severe shoulder pain
- smaller pupil in one eye
- little or no sweating on one side of the face
Superior vena cava syndrome
The large vein that transports blood from the head and arms to the heart is called the superior vena cava (SVC). If a tumor develops in the right lung or in the nearby lymph nodes of the chest, it can press against the SVC, causing symptoms such as:
The syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH) is a condition where the body makes and releases too much antidiuretic hormone (ADH).
ADH helps the kidneys control how much water your body loses through urine. Too much ADH causes your body to hold onto too much water.
This syndrome occurs in
Symptoms of SIADH syndrome include:
- personality changes, such as combativeness, confusion, and hallucinations
Metastasized lung cancer symptoms
If the cancer spreads from the lungs to distant body parts, it can cause symptoms such as:
Smoking is by far the greatest risk factor for developing lung cancer. The risk increases the longer and more you smoke.
- secondhand smoke
- air pollution
- arsenic in drinking water
- workplace hazards, such as:
- diesel exhaust
- coal products
Additional risk factors include:
- taking beta carotene supplements if you also smoke
- family history of lung cancer
- receiving radiation therapy to your lungs
Lung cancer is most treatable in its early stages. It’s important to visit a doctor for an official diagnosis if you develop potential warning signs of lung cancer.
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