A Symptom Of Lung Cancer You May Be Ignoring

Lung cancer is the leading cause of death among cancer patients. Treatment is most effective with early diagnosis. Self-diagnosing lung cancer requires recognizing lung cancer-specific symptoms. Symptoms specific for lung cancer range from generalized body pain, fatigue, coughing out blood, chest pain, persistent cough, and of course, shortness of breath. When you think lung cancer, shoulder pain is the last sign that would cross your mind. This is, however, not surprising, as shoulder pain is commonly associated with milder ailments. This makes ignored shoulder pain an indication of  the onset of lung cancer. Lung cancer can result in shoulder pain in a number of ways. Pancoast’s tumor, a cancer growth in the cranial half of the lung, can affect nerves supplying the arms, shoulders, spine, and head. This is a sequel to the Horner’s syndrome which is a cluster of symptoms that include:
  • Decreased sweating on the affected side of the face
  • Weakened eyelids
  • Reduced pupillary size in one eye
  • Severe shoulder pain
Shoulder pain arises as a result of the tumor spreading from the lungs to bones around the shoulder and spine. Large tumors can press onto nearby structures, causing severe pain as a result. This is regarded as “mass effect.” When the tumor puts pressure on the phrenic nerve, situated in the lungs, impulses are sent to the brain, and the brain interprets this as coming from the shoulders.  This form of shoulder pain is referred to as referred pain. Shoulder pain can also arise from other health conditions like tendonitis, osteoarthritis, bursitis, hyperthyroidism, and minor injuries. Shoulder pain is, therefore, not the only symptom to look out for when diagnosing lung cancer. 

Other Symptoms Of Lung Cancer You Should Look Out For

Lung cancer-specific symptoms may be difficult to identify. It might take several months to years for symptoms to be displayed. The majority of lung cancer symptoms are associated with the chest. Very common ones are; chest pain, shortness of breath, persistent cough, and hoarseness. A harsh grating sound with each breath can be heard.  There is a shift in color and volume of sputum. An affected person may cough up blood, phlegm, or mucus. Lung cancer can predispose a person to other chronic lung problems like pneumonia and bronchitis. Discomfort in the chest may be experienced due to emphysema, which spreads to other parts of the body. It is typical with advanced cases of lung cancer. Thus, the bones, liver, brain, adrenal glands, and lymphatic may be severely affected.   Chronic lung cancers are expressed in patients as generalized body weakness, exhaustion, excessive bleeding, blood clots, headaches, fractures, pain in the bones and joints, swelling of the face and neck, memory loss, incoordination, poor gait, wasting syndrome, and cachexia. Recognizing and treating lung cancer early is very important in combating the disease and preventing metastasis.  If you detect any of the symptoms above, do not hesitate to see your doctor. Chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy, targeted drugs, and surgery are effective means through which your physician would help destroy lung cancer and other cancerous cells.

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