Lung cancer is by far one of the most common forms of cancer in both men and women. In fact, it’s number two. The American Cancer Society estimates that by the end of 2016, around 224,390 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer for the first time. There will probably be about 158,080 deaths due to lung cancer. What are the chances of getting it? Well, for men, it’s a 1-in-14 chance of developing it. This might be a surprise to you, but women have a risk of 1 in 17. Smoking is obviously one of the factors that increase the chance, but it’s not the only way you can get it. Second-hand smoke is as dangerous.
If a person gets lung cancer, it can be very serious and even fatal. Knowing what to look for in terms of signs and symptoms will lower your chances of getting it. These are the symptoms to watch for:
1. A Cough that won’t go away. When a person coughs, it is usually associated with a cold or respiratory infection. These illnesses usually disappear after a week or two. If you have a cough that doesn’t go away, you might be looking at a sign of lung cancer, especially if it continues to worsen.
2. Changes in the cough. If your coughing gets more frequent and gets deeper with a hoarse sound, then it’s time to visit a doctor. Watch out if you cough up blood or if it’s a large amount of mucus, more than usual.
3. Difficulty breathing. Shortness of breath is another of the tell-signs for cancer. Cancer blocks the airways because of fluid or a lung tumor present. If you have a tough time catching your breath after walking short distances or doing normal household tasks, make an appointment to see your doctor.
4. Chest pain. Lung cancer can lead to chest, shoulder or back pain. Even if the pain you are getting is not sharp, this is something your doctor definitely needs to know.
5. Wheezing. Watch out for wheezing as when the airway gets blocked, restricted or inflamed, you’ll notice a wheezing or whistling sound when breathing. This can also be a sign of asthma or allergies.
6. Raspy, hoarse voice. Changes in your voice are also important to note. A deeper, raspier or more hoarse tone in your voice is also a good reason to make an appointment to see your doctor.
7. Unexplained weight loss. This is when you suddenly lose a good amount of weight without intending to do so. Most people will gain or lose a couple of pounds here and there. But if it’s more in the range of 10+ pounds, then your doctor needs to know.
8. Bone pain. Lung cancer usually gives symptoms once it has spread. When it has, then it might produce pain in the back or other areas of the body. For more information on signs and symptoms watch the video below!