How To Recognize Lung Cancer Early. In this article, you will learn the early symptoms of lung cancer, paraneoplastic syndromes of lung cancer, and symptoms of metastases in lung cancer. The first symptoms of lung cancer, unfortunately, appear late, when the tumour is already well established. Certain signs, however, can attract attention, which makes it possible to make the diagnosis as early as possible and to treat it in stride.
How To Recognize Lung Cancer Early:
Symptoms Of Lung Cancer:
In the very early stages of lung cancer, the disease is symptomless. The tumour is too small to cause any signs but as it grows, symptoms may appear. The most obvious of which is coughing or shortness of breath. But beware, other conditions can cause the same symptoms. The tumour may be discovered by chance during a chest X-ray. The main symptoms of small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell cancer (NSCLC) are the same, i.e.
-A cough that intensifies and persists.
-Shortness of breath.
-Constant chest pain that increases when breathing in or coughing.
-Blood in the mucus increases during coughing (hemoptysis).
-Bronchial infections (bronchitis, pneumonia) that persist or continue to reappear despite antibiotics.
-Loss of weight and appetite.
-Unusual or persistent fatigue.
-Hoarseness or voice changes (dysphonia).
Paraneoplastic Syndromes Of Lung Cancer:
Beyond the obvious symptoms, some are related to the release of substances by tumour cells and affect the proper functioning of other organs or tissues. These are called paraneoplastic syndromes. Causative small cell cancer is more likely to cause it than non-small cell cancer.
-Difficulty swallowing due to compression of the oesophagus (dysphagia).
-Swollen lymph nodes in the neck and above the collarbone.
-A pleural effusion (accumulation of fluid in the lungs – pleurisy).
-The presence of stagnant liquid between the 2 layers of the pericardium, the membrane that surrounds the heart ( pericarditis ).
-Swelling of the face and neck, headaches.
-Visible veins on the upper part of the chest.
-Compression of the superior vena cava is involved. This is called “superior vena compression syndrome”. This is a medical emergency.
-Hormonal or blood disorders (calcium, sodium levels, etc.) can be caused by the release of certain substances from tumour cells. Disorders like Hypercalcemia, SIAD, Cushing’s syndrome, Horner’s syndrome, and Lambert-Eaton syndrome can occur.
Symptoms Of Metastases In Lung Cancer:
In advanced forms, the initial tumour can spread and reach other organs. These metastases can lead to symptoms in other areas of the body. For lung cancer, the most common metastases are:
-Brain metastases cause headaches and confusion.
-Bone metastases cause pain in the arms, legs and back.
-Liver metastases cause jaundice, loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue, fever, and itching.
Point To Ponder:
For a smoker, the mistake is to believe that a systematic morning cough, recurrent bronchitis, shortness of breath and constant fatigue are normal symptoms. These signs should lead you to consult. In the event of an anomaly being detected, it is then up to the doctor to judge whether or not to continue the explorations. For example, by requesting a CT scan which will detect smaller tumours (more relevant than an X-ray which will only make it possible to visualize masses larger than 1 cm) and possibly a biopsy, i.e. a sample of cells from the level of the suspicious image to be able to make a diagnosis.
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