If you cough up blood, the first thing that could come to your mind is that you possibly have lung cancer. But that’s not the only sign or symptom of the disease, says an expert to highlight the importance of cancer awareness during Lung Cancer Awareness Month. According to the Indian Journal of Medical Research, lung cancer happens to be one of the most common cancers in the world. If we look at statistics, it accounts for 13 percent of all new cases related to cancer and 19 percent of cancer-related deaths across the globe.
In India, lung cancer constitutes 9.3 percent of all cancer-related deaths in both genders. This calls for an awareness on the subject. Health Shots reached out to Dr. Kaushal Kishor Yadav, Senior Consultant and Clinical Lead, Surgical Oncology, Narayana Hospital, Gurugram, to know about lung cancer symptoms that you should not ignore.
Only some people with early lung cancer develop symptoms
When the body’s cells begin to multiply uncontrollably, that’s when cancer arises. Yadav said that only some people with early lung cancer actually develop symptoms or show signs, but for the most part, “symptoms do not appear until the cancer has spread.”
So naturally, when cancer is detected at an earlier stage, treatment is more likely to be beneficial.
Common symptoms of lung cancer
1. If you have persistent cough that worsens or does not go away, you need to check with a doctor.
2. Many are aware that if you cough up blood or rust-colored sputum, it’s a possible sign of lung cancer.
3. There are times when you get chest pains, but sometimes they get worse when you laugh, cough or take deep breaths.
4. Hoarseness of voice does not always mean it’s just a sign of cold.
5. Love eating, but have been showing less interest in eating and losing appetite? Yadav thinks it could be a lung cancer symptom.
6. Weight loss generally means happy news for people. But when you don’t do much to lose weight, and experience unusual weight loss then you should worry.
7. On a day-to-day basis, you don’t think much about breathing as it happens naturally. But facing breathing difficulties could be another lung cancer symptom.
8. Doing a lot of physical activities could make you feel tired. But feeling tired and weak all the time, calls for a visit to the doctor.
Signs that lung cancer has spread to other parts of your body
Here are the signs, shared by Dr Yadav, that suggests that lung cancer has affected other parts of your body:
1. You would feel bone ache like pain in the hips or back.
2. You would end up with nervous system problems such as headaches, arm or leg paralysis or numbness, dizziness, balance issues or seizures. They are caused by cancer and spread to the brain.
3. There would be lymph node swelling too, particularly in the neck or above the collarbone.
Though these signs and symptoms could be associated with lung cancer, they can also be brought on by conditions other than lung cancer, said Yadav. He advised that if you have any of the symptoms listed above, you should immediately see your doctor so that the “reason can be identified and treated, if necessary.”
What are the treatments available for lung cancer?
Surgery is the most effective treatment in early stages of lung cancer. “It involves removal of that part of lung that is affected by cancer, but sometimes complete removal of affected lung along with lymph nodes in the chest is required,” said Yadav.