Published On: Sat, Sep 15th, 2018

Lung cancer symptoms: Is your cough a lung cancer cough? Look out for these three signs


Lung cancer symptoms can be similar to those of less serious medical conditions. But if you notice any of the signs you should make sure to visit your GP straight away.

Many symptoms of the disease, such as a cough, can also be signs of less serious conditions, like asthma.

But with a cough being one of the most common signs of lung cancer, how can you tell if your cough is a lung cancer cough?

One of the first things to look for is if your cough has lasted for three weeks or more.

Coughing up blood can be another indicator, and finally be wary of a change in a cough you’ve had for a long time.

Macmillan outlines other symptoms of lung cancer to watch out for:

  • A chest infection that doesn’t get better, or repeated chest infections
  • Feeling breathes and wheezy for no reason
  • Chest or shoulder pain that doesn’t get better
  • A hoarse voice for three weeks or more
  • Losing weight for no obvious reason
  • Feeling extremely tired
  • The ends of fingers change shape – they may become larger or rounded (known as clubbing)

Another symptom people may not recognise as being linked to lung cancer is swelling in the face.

Swelling in the face can be a result of a superior vena cava obstruction.

The superior vena cava is a large vein in the chest which carries blood from the upper half of the body into the heart.

A superior vena cava obstruction happens when something blocks this blood flow, explains Macmillan.

The British charity adds on its website: “Superior vena cava obstruction is usually caused by lung cancer near to this vein. The cancer may be pressing on the vein or it may have spread to the lymph nodes nearby, causing them to swell.

“It can also be caused by a blood clot blocking the vein. This can happen if you’re having treatment through a central line.”

How do you treat superior vena cava?

Treatment may vary – a small tube can be put in the vein to keep it open, or radiotherapy or chemotherapy are also options.

Because lung cancer doesn’t usually cause noticeable symptoms until it has spread through the lungs or to other parts of the body, the outlook for the condition is not as good as other types of cancer.

The NHS says: “Overall, about one in three people with the condition live for at least a year after they’re diagnosed and about one in 20 people live at least 10 years.

“However, survival rates can vary widely, depending on how far the cancer ha spread at the time of diagnosis. Early diagnosis can make a big difference.”

Skin cancer is another type of cancer which is becoming more common. Symptoms are usually associated with a change in a mole on the skin. This is an indicator of melanoma, a more serious form of of skin cancer that grows from pigment cells.

But with non melanoma skin cancer (skin cancer that occurs in the skin) a spot or sore can be one of the first signs



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Lung cancer symptoms: Is your cough a lung cancer cough? Look out for these three signs