Bronchogenic carcinoma, or lung cancer as it is more commonly known, is a very aggressive and deadly disease. Lung cancer is almost impossible to cure unless it is detected in the early stages of its development. This is why it is important for everybody, but particularly for at-risk individuals, to be aware of the different symptoms of lung cancer. We have prepared a comprehensive list of the signs which accompany lung cancer. Because early detection is key in treating the disease, we believe this information should be shared as much as possible.
The most common symptoms, before metastasis:
A deep and painful cough which does not pass and gets worse:- The cough is wet and comes from the lungs. It is the characteristic "smoker cough."
Chest pain:- The pain can be felt all the time but is particularly strong when breathing hard, coughing or laughing.
Loss of appetite and subsequent weight loss:- A sudden and inexplicable loss of appetite and important and rapid weight loss.
Coughing up spit, phlegm or blood:- Coughing up any fluid is worrisome, especially when it isn't linked to a flu-like disease. Fits of coughing followed by the spitting of fluids should always be investigated by a professional.
Shortness of breath and tiredness:- A shortness of breath which happens without apparent reasons (physical effort, anxiety, etc.) and an overwhelming tiredness which plagues the individual all day long, even upon waking up. Patients speak of "waking up in the morning and being ready to go back to bed after being up for one hour." The individual can also feel weak and be unable to perform tasks he or she used to do easily.
Recurring pneumonia, bronchitis or similar infections:- Pulmonary infections which either can't be cured or are cured but come back after a short amount of time.
Wheezing when breathing:- Wheezing is high-pitched whistling noise, which is heard upon exhalation and sometimes inhalation. It is a tell-tale sign of pulmonary problems.
The most common symptoms of bronchogenic carcinoma, after metastases (secondary cancers):
Bone and joint pain:- Bone metastases, secondary cancers stemming from the primary lung cancer which has spread throughout the organism, is exceptionally painful. It is unlike "normal" bone pain and appears suddenly, especially in the back and hips.
Dizziness, headaches, numbness or any other nervous system changes:- When the metastases have spread to the brain or to the spinal cord, the nervous system is affected, which will results in the problems we have noted below but also balance problems and seizures.
Jaundice:- When the cancer spreads to the liver, the skin and eyes take a yellowish color due to excess bilirubin (usually excreted in bile and urine) in the blood.
Lumps:- When the cancer spreads to the lymph nodes, oval-shaped organs distributed throughout the body, or to the skin, lumps appear on the surface of the skin, under the armpits or on the neck under the side of the jaw.
These are the most commons symptoms of bronchogenic carcinoma. There are a multitude of other signs associated with lung cancer. Please also note that the signs listed above could be caused by conditions other than lung cancer but should nonetheless, be investigated by a doctor. With a disease as deadly as lung cancer, prevention is paramount and no sign should be left unchecked.