Lung cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the United States today. Over 200,000 cases of lung cancer are expected to be diagnosed in the United States in 2018. Because of these staggering numbers, it is important to be aware of the risk that lung cancer poses in your life as well as know what signs and symptoms to look out for.
Lung cancer is often diagnosed in the later stages of the disease, primarily because the symptoms might get ignored or overlooked for a prolonged period of time. To avoid this issue in your life, get to know some of the signs that you may have lung cancer and what you should do if you notice these symptoms. Then, you can be sure you are protecting your health as well as possible.
A Worsening or More Persistent Cough
One of the most commonly recognized symptoms of lung cancer is a persistent and worsening cough. Everybody coughs from time to time, especially if they have the flu or a cold. But, if you are otherwise healthy and you have a persistent cough that seems to have gotten worse recently, then you may have something to be concerned about.
Tumors in the lungs can create irritation as well as disturb the overall functionality of the lungs. The end result can be a significant cough. If you notice this type of cough, you should contact your primary care physician right away first. They will be able to examine you, possibly take x-rays or other scans, and determine if there is another cause for the cough, such as pneumonia, asthma, or the like. The x-rays can detect abnormalities in the lungs that might be indicative of cancer as well.
Chest pain can be another sign of lung cancer. Tumors can press on nerves in the body producing pain. Additionally, if lung cancer tumors get into the chest wall, pain can increase. Any kind of chest discomfort is always a cause for concern. Whether the pain is sharp or a dull aching and even if it comes and goes, you need to seek medical attention.
When chest pain is involved, your firsts step should be to seek emergency care. The first concern with chest pain is, of course, heart attack. However, if you go to the ER and doctors cannot find any issues with your heart, and the chest pain continues or comes back, you should talk to your doctor. This is especially true if you have both a cough and chest pain. However, the chest pain associated with lung cancer can occur with or without a cough.
Changes in Your Voice
Changes in your voice are another sign that something is amiss with your lungs. Hoarseness is usually a temporary issue associated with an illness, allergies, or a particularly smoggy day. But if your voice has become more hoarse or raspy and has stayed that way, lung problems may be the cause. Any change to your voice that is significant and lasting should be checked out by a doctor just in case.
Now that you know some of the signs you may have lung cancer and what you should do if you notice them, you can get the care you need right away if you experience any of these symptoms. Contact a lung cancer center today to learn more.