Authored by Ceetee Sheckels in Diseases
Published on 10-21-2009
Before addressing the symptoms and signs of lung cancer, there is something very important that you need to know. Lung cancer can be present without symptoms. What this means is that a person can have lung cancer for a considerable period of time before he shows any signs of the disease. This is the main reason why lung cancer is so deadly – it often is not detected until it is too late. The steps which you can take in the interest of your health are to minimize your risk of lung cancer by not smoking and reduce or eliminate your exposure to asbestos and similar chemicals. You should also make getting a chest x-ray a regular part of your routine physical examinations.
As with most forms of cancer, the symptoms and signs of lung cancer involve “change.” While it can be easy to overlook symptoms, staying alert to changes can be your first step toward treatment. If you notice any of these symptoms which were not present before, an immediate visit to your physician is recommended.
One common symptom of lung cancer is a change in lung function. This can be in the form of an annoying cough, hoarseness, or persistent instances of infections in the respiratory system. Any of these symptoms should be evaluated by your doctor.
The sputum is a combination of mucous and saliva. If the substance which comes from your lungs contains any traces of blood, this is another warning sign. While this symptom may come from bleeding teeth or capillaries which can bleed from excessive coughing, it should not be overlooked.
You may have trouble breathing, or experience chest pain. While these symptoms can be the sign of a number of medical problems, they are also symptoms of lung cancer. If you have noticed that you wheeze when you breathe, or that you become short of breath even when you are not doing strenuous exercise, it would be wise to request an evaluation.
Although you may experience any of these symptoms without actually having lung cancer, their presence should prompt an immediate check-up by your physician. There are some basic tests which are usually performed when lung cancer is suspected. The standard chest x-ray is generally first on the list of tests for lung cancer. However, since a chest x-ray is not one hundred percent conclusive, you should expect some other tests as well. They are all relatively simple and painless. A computerized axial tomography scan, more commonly known as a “CAT Scan,” is one test for suspected lung cancer. An MRI is another. Evaluations for suspected lung cancer also include a blood test, and checking the sputum for the presence of cancerous cells.
As with any form of cancer, early detection is the best chance for a cure. Take the steps necessary to reduce your risk of developing lung cancer; have chest x-rays on a regular basis; and if you do experience any of the signs or symptoms of lung cancer, consult your physician immediately.