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5 Early Signs of Lung Cancer That Could Save Your Life

You better check that cough.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Cancer is the second-highest cause of death in the USA after heart disease. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. It is also one of the most preventable cancers since it is often caused by smoking. However, many people who have lung cancer don't realize they have it until it's too late. That's why it's important to be aware of the early signs of lung cancer and see a doctor if you experience any of them. Read on to learn about the early signs of lung cancer—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


A Persistent Cough That Doesn't Go Away

Man lying on bed at home, high fever and coughing.

A persistent cough can be due to many reasons including smoking, bronchitis, asthma, and lung cancer, So if you have a cough that lasts more than three weeks, see your doctor.


Coughing Up Blood or Mucus

Sick woman coughing, experiencing hiccup.

Causes of coughing up blood or mucus include bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and lung cancer. So if you are coughing up a lot of phlegm, blood-tinged phlegm or blood go see your medical provider.

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Shortness of Breath or Difficulty Breathing

Young woman suffering from breathing problem near window indoors.

Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing can be caused by many medical problems. Lung diseases that cause shortness of breath or difficulty breathing include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, and pneumonia. Lung cancer is a common type of cancer that can cause shortness of breath. Other medical conditions that can cause shortness of breath include heart failure, blood clots, and anemia. Some medications can also cause shortness of breath as a side effect. If you are having difficulty breathing, it is important to see your doctor so they can determine the cause.

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Chest Pain

Woman having chest pain. respiratory system diseases

Chest pain is a non-specific symptom that can arise from many medical problems including heart disease, lung disease, and infections. It can also be a side effect of medications or other treatments. Lung cancer causes chest pain in about 10% of people who have the disease.

Chest pain can vary in character from a mild ache to a sharp, stabbing sensation. It may be accompanied by shortness of breath, sweating, and nausea. Chest pain should prompt contacting your doctor.

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Unexplained Weight Loss

weight loss measuring

Unexplained weight loss can be due to many factors, including cancer. Lung cancer is a common cause of weight loss in people who have the disease. Other causes of weight loss include infections, eating disorders, and medications.

If you are losing weight and you do not know why then it is important to see your doctor to determine the cause. And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Gethin Williams MD, Ph.D. is the Medical Director of Imaging & Interventional Specialists.

Gethin Williams, MD, Ph.D
Gethin Williams, MD, Ph.D. is the Medical Director of Imaging & Interventional Specialists. Read more about Gethin
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