Symptoms do not appear until lung cancer is in advanced stages. If you experience any symptoms, do not assume it is due to cancer. Many symptoms can be caused by other less serious conditions, such as pneumonia or pleurisy. However, it is still important to discuss them with your doctor. Early detection and treatment improve outcomes for both cancer and other health conditions.
Symptoms may differ depending on the location of the tumor or how long it has been growing. The most common symptoms of lung cancer are:
Later stages of cancer may cause:
Certain types of lung tumors can also trigger other syndromes in the body, called paraneoplastic syndromes. They occur when the tumor secretes hormones that influence bodily functions. Specific syndromes associated with lung cancer may indicate the presence of the disease.
General information about non-small cell lung cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/types/lung/patient/non-small-cell-lung-treatment-pdq. Updated July 8, 2016. Accessed July 12, 2016.
General information about small cell lung cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/types/lung/patient/small-cell-lung-treatment-pdq. Updated July 7, 2016. Accessed July 12, 2016.
Lung cancer (non-small cell). American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003115-pdf.pdf. Accessed July 12, 2016.
Lung cancer (small cell). American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003116-pdf.pdf. Accessed July 12, 2016.
Non-small cell lung cancer. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114774/Non-small-cell-lung-cancer. Updated January 25, 2016. Accessed July 28, 2016.
Small cell lung cancer. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115654/Small-cell-lung-cancer. Updated October 15, 2015. Accessed July 28, 2016.
What are the symptoms of lung cancer? American Lung Association website. Available at: http://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/lung-cancer/symptoms-causes-and-risk-factors/symptoms.html. Accessed July 12, 2016.
Last reviewed September 2016 by Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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