Lung cancer: Signs and symptoms to look out for
Cancer symptoms are often vague and subtle, making the condition hard to identify. Fortunately, knowing what to look for could be the first step towards prompt detection. A doctor has shared four warning signs of lung cancer that could appear first thing in the morning.
While a stubborn cough is an infamous warning sign of lung cancer, other parts of your body could also break the news of the scary condition.
Dr Anita Raja, NHS GP, explained that patients struck by the deadly condition can notice symptoms straight after they wake up.
While everyone can feel a bit tired and poorly the first thing in the morning, the following signs shouldn’t be ignored.
Dr Raja said: “The patient may feel that they are waking up drenched in sweat, along with a fever.
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“If this is accompanied with a dry cough of more than three weeks or blood in your sputum this may indicate lung cancer.”
In case you aren’t aware, sputum, also known as phlegm, describes a thick type of mucus made in your lungs.
If you have a chronic illness that targets the lungs, it can make you cough up sputum.
The doctor added that you should “seek urgent medical attention” if you suffer from any of these symptoms.
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Apart from signs that strike first thing in the morning, lung cancer can also trigger symptoms, including:
- A cough that does not go away after three weeks
- A long-standing cough that gets worse
- Chest infections that keep coming back
- Coughing up blood
- An ache or pain when breathing or coughing
- Persistent breathlessness
- Persistent tiredness or lack of energy
- Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss
- Changes in the appearance of your fingers, such as becoming more curved or their ends becoming larger (this is known as finger clubbing)
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) or pain when swallowing
- A hoarse voice
- Swelling of your face or neck
- Persistent chest or shoulder pain.
However, there are usually no signs or symptoms of lung cancer in the early stages, making the condition difficult to spot early.
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The NHS explains that most symptoms develop as the condition progresses.
The good news is that there are a few ways to reduce your risk of the culprit.
Smoking is considered the single biggest risk factor for lung cancer, which makes quitting essential.
Furthermore, a healthy diet packed with fruits and vegetables is a key when it comes to reducing your risk of any cancer.
The Mayo Clinic also recommends taking precautions to protect yourself from exposure to toxic chemicals at work in order to minimise your risk.
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