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Cancer

Lung Cancer: Symptoms

woman coughing
A persistent cough is one of the symptoms of lung cancer.

What are the symptoms of lung cancer?

Lung cancer often does not cause symptoms in its early stages. In fact, many lung cancers do not cause symptoms until they have already spread. 

When early lung cancer does cause symptoms, they’re often like those you might have anyway if you smoke. For example, some early symptoms of lung cancer include shortness of breath and coughing.

These are some of the more common symptoms of lung cancer:

  • Cough that doesn’t go away or gets worse over time

  • Chest pain, which might be worse when coughing or breathing in deeply

  • Coughing up blood or rust-colored mucus

  • Shortness of breath

  • Hoarseness

  • Wheezing

  • Appetite loss or unexpected weight loss

  • Feeling tired or weak

  • Pneumonia or bronchitis occurring more than usual for you

  • Shoulder pain

  • Swelling in the face and arms

Some symptoms can be caused by lung cancer spreading to other parts of the body:

  • Bone pain

  • Yellowing of skin and eyes (jaundice)

  • Headache, seizures, or confusion

  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck

  • Drooping eyelid

When to see your healthcare provider

Many of these symptoms can be caused by other health problems. But it is important to see your healthcare provider if you have these symptoms. Only a healthcare provider can tell if you have lung cancer. 

Online Medical Reviewer: Alteri, Richard, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Gersten, Todd, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 1/3/2016
© 2013 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare provider's instructions.
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