One Specific Symptom Of Lung Cancer That May Show Up Early But Is Often Overlooked
Lung cancer in a nutshell
Lung cancer is the deadliest type of cancer among women and men. It’s estimated that 154,050 Americans will die from it in 2018. In women, the disease is a bigger killer than cancers of the reproductive system.
In most individuals diagnosed with the disease, it is caused by smoking. However, some people who have never smoked in their lives can get lung cancer. In these cases, the cause is often unknown.
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The reason why lung cancer takes so many lives is the lack of early signs. The disease usually starts to produce symptoms when it has already progressed. Possible signs and symptoms include the following:
- persistent cough;
- coughing up blood;
- shortness of breath;
- chest pain;
- bone pain;
- weight loss.
Some of these symptoms are non-specific, and that’s the reason why many people affected by them don’t seek help until their condition becomes unbearable.
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One symptom on this list stands out. Persistent coughing may be present from the earlier stages of lung cancer, especially if the tumor is pressing on one of the bronchi. This symptom is more often associated with respiratory tract infections, but if it lingers for more than several weeks, it should set off alarm bells.
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Ashley Rivas, a 35-year-old woman from Albuquerque, New Mexico, survived lung cancer and shared her story with SELF. One of her first symptoms was wheezing during exercise, which her doctor first attributed to activity-induced asthma and prescribed an inhaler.
The medicine helped a little bit but never eliminated the symptoms.
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After a few years, another symptom appeared. The woman started to experience dry cough. Ashley didn’t think it was a sign of something serious. She said she viewed it as “a lingering annoyance, but nothing that caused much concern.”
Over the next year, it got worse. Ashley told SELF:
It sounded hollow or drum-like. It was coming from deep inside my chest and was very painful. It was worse at night and was accompanied with a fever.
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After a while, the woman did see a doctor and got a chest X-ray. The initial diagnosis was pneumonia. Several weeks later, Ashley still had cough, fatigue, and fever. At last, she had more X-rays and other tests, which revealed the true cause of her symptoms: a tumor in her right lung.
Don’t take any chances with your health. Listen to your body when it’s trying to tell you something. Any persistent, unexplained symptoms, like the ones Ashley had, should be evaluated by a doctor.
This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.