8 Lung Cancer Symptoms You Should Know About Even if You’re Not a Smoker

This article was written by Stephanie Booth and provided by our partners at Prevention.

Chest pain is the most obvious sign of lung cancer, but there are plenty of other signals you should know about—even if you’ve never smoked. Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer of both men and women in the US, and up to 20 percent of people who die from it have never smoked at all.Why might a non-smoker get lung cancer? Exposure to radon (an odorless gas found in homes) is often to blame, explains Robert McKenna, Jr., M.D., a thoracic surgeon at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. Other possible culprits include air pollution, secondhand smoke, and environmental hazards like asbestos.Whether you smoke regularly or have never lit up in your life, keep an eye out for the following symptoms. Although there are plenty of less nefarious reasons why these issues might crop up, play it safe and discuss them with your doctor.
A LINGERING COUGH
8 Surprising Signs Of Lung Cancer You Should Know
1/8 SHUTTERSTOCK
A LINGERING COUGH

“The majority of people with lung cancer have a cough, occasionally with blood,” says McKenna. Bringing up thick, rust-colored mucus can also be an early sign. But even if you have a dry cough, if it’s lingered for over a month, it’s worth getting checked out.

Chronic infections
8 Surprising Signs Of Lung Cancer You Should Know
2/8 SHUTTERSTOCK
CHRONIC INFECTIONS

Most of the time, viruses are to blame for lung infections like chronic bronchitis. But if you’re repeatedly getting sick and every illness seems to go straight to your chest, it could be a sign of cancer.

Weight loss
8 Surprising Signs Of Lung Cancer You Should Know
3/8 SHUTTERSTOCK
WEIGHT LOSS

Dropping pounds without a change in your diet or workout? “As with any cancer,” notes McKenna, “a more advanced tumor may make proteins that tell your body to lose weight.” That’s why you may also notice a drop in your appetite.

8 Surprising Signs Of Lung Cancer You Should Know
4/8 SHUTTERSTOCK
BONE PAIN

If lung cancer has spread to other organs in your body, you may feel an ache deep down in your bones or joints, says Jack Jacoub, M.D., a medical oncologist and director of thoracic oncology at MemorialCare Cancer Institute at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California. The back and hips are common sore spots. (Though this may also be a sign of vitamin D deficiency.)

Swelling in your neck and face
8 Surprising Signs Of Lung Cancer You Should Know
5/8 SHUTTERSTOCK
SWELLING IN YOUR NECK AND FACE

If a lung tumor begins pressing against your superior vena cava (the large vein that carries blood from your head and arms to your heart), you may notice swelling in your neck and face, says Jacoub. Your arms and upper chest can also be affected. (Want to pick up some healthier habits? Sign up to get healthy living tips delivered straight to your in-box!)

Overwhelming fatigue
8 Surprising Signs Of Lung Cancer You Should Know
6/8 SHUTTERSTOCK
OVERWHELMING FATIGUE

“This is different than feeling tired,” Jacoub notes. “It’s feeling so worn out that you can’t wait to climb into bed,” and getting lots of rest doesn’t help. As many as 80 percent of people with cancer note “excessive tiredness” as a symptom.

RELATED: 7 REASONS YOU’RE TIRED ALL THE TIME

Muscle weakness
8 Surprising Signs Of Lung Cancer You Should Know
7/8 SHUTTERSTOCK
MUSCLE WEAKNESS

Lung cancer affects your organs as well as your muscles. One of the first areas to be impacted: your hips. “You might find it hard to even get out of a chair,” says Jacoub. Weakness in the shoulders, arms, and legs is also typical.

While you’re thinking about your health, brush up on how to do a breast self-exam: 

8 Surprising Signs Of Lung Cancer You Should Know
8/8 SHUTTERSTOCK
HIGH CALCIUM LEVELS

Certain lung cancers make hormone-like substances that upset the balance of minerals in your body. In some instances, says McKenna, excess calcium gets released into the bloodstream. While you may not realize your levels are through the roof until your doctor orders a lab test, you should notice the symptoms that go along with high calcium: frequent urination, excessive thirst, constipation, nausea, belly pain, and dizziness.

Advertisements

Author: mr☻n Ta Αβραάμ

Long live Ethiopia “When dictatorship is a fact, revolution becomes a right." victor Hugo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s