Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers existing in the world today. The ironic thing is that the majority of lung cancers are self inflicted through heavy smoking. As with all diseases and especially with any form of cancer is to detect the disease as early as possible so, that treatment can be given to increase the chances of survival. However, by the time the symptoms are noticeable the disease is probably at its advanced stage. But, if the symptoms are detected early enough your odds get better.
One of the clearest symptoms of lung cancer is hemoptysis or coughing up blood. This is a clear warning signal to visit your doctor immediately for an examination particularly, if you are a regular smoker over 40 years of age. In some cases early symptoms may be the cause of secondary tumours in other parts of the body.
If you are a heavy smoker and are concerned about the health of your lungs then the following list outlines the most common symptoms that may indicate lung cancer:
• Continuous chest pains
• Excessive tiredness
• Breathlessness and wheezing chest
• Chronic coughing
• Weight loss due to loss of appetite
• High temperatures
• Dyspnoea, palpitations or convulsions
These symptoms may or may not be directly linked to lung cancer as the cause may be related to another condition with similar symptoms such as pneumonia or pleurisy. The only way to be clear about this is to visit your doctor. You may find that these symptoms could have been caused by chemicals you may have been exposed to in a work related environment in the past.
During the medical examination with your doctor you will be asked detailed questions about your medical history, lifestyle and diet. If you have a continuous cough that is bringing up large quantities of mucus your doctor may take a swab of the mucus. This will be used for further examination to detect if there are any cancer cells. Your physical exam may also involve taking an x-ray of your chest area to determine if there are any shadows on the lung.
Further tests may involve the use of a CT scan to give a thorough examination of your lungs. This is useful for identifying smaller tumors that may not have been detected by the x-ray. If lung cancer is diagnosed you will probably be sent to a specialist for further examination. This will determine if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. These examinations may involve a MRI scan to identify any major changes in your condition and to determine the appropriate treatment.