When it comes to monitoring your health, your heart and lungs are right at the top of the list of important organs you should focus on. Diseases that attack these organs can cause serious health problems, so the sooner you know about them, the sooner you can take action to treat them. Unfortunately, lung cancer isn’t always easy to detect in the early stages. This type of cancer starts in the lungs and often spreads to the lymph nodes and other organs before it’s detected.
Lung cancer is the deadliest type of cancer in the United States, and both men and women are at risk. Many people wrongly assume that you only get lung cancer if you smoke tobacco products. The truth is anyone can develop the disease, although smoking substantially increases the risk. Regardless of your personal history, learning the symptoms of lung cancer can help you recognize a potential problem much sooner. Consulting your doctor as soon as you develop symptoms is your first line of defense in forming a successful treatment plan.
Early Signs of Lung Cancer
Many people don’t notice any symptoms at all when they first start to develop lung cancer, which makes diagnosing lung cancer in the early stages very challenging. The first noticeable symptoms to develop usually involve the lungs and other parts of the respiratory system, but many of these early symptoms are caused by other health conditions more often than lung cancer.
Still, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, so potential symptoms should be evaluated by a doctor for a definitive diagnosis. Symptoms to watch for include a cough that gets progressively worse or becomes deeper with time and sounds similar to a “smoker’s cough.” If you cough up blood with your cough, it is definitely cause for concern.
In terms of breathing, you may experience some wheezing, shortness of breath or noisy breathing. If you don’t address it, you could eventually find it difficult to breathe normally. Recurring bouts of bronchitis or pneumonia also signal a potential problem, although that problem is not necessarily lung cancer. General symptoms to watch out for include fatigue, unexplained weight loss and poor appetite, as many types of cancers cause these common symptoms.