Lung cancer is one of the most common and serious types of cancer in the UK.
Around 44,500 people are diagnosed with the disease each year in the UK.
Symptoms usually develop as the disease progresses and are not usually present in the early stages.
Many people will, however, develop symptoms eventually, one of which is a persistent cough.
But how do you know if your cough is harmless or a sign of lung cancer?
According to the NHS, if you have a cough that doesn’t go away after two to three weeks, it may be necessary to see a GP.
Coughs usually clear up on their own within three weeks, so if you have a cough which doesn’t do so, a trip to the doctor may be wise.
This doesn’t necessarily indicate lung cancer, but could be a sign of a condition such as a chest infection, which may need to be treated.
The NHS also advises seeing a doctor if your cough is very bad or quickly gets worse.
This includes having a hacking cough or if you can’t stop coughing. Long-standing coughs that worsen could indicate lung cancer.
If you cough up blood, see a doctor urgently, as this could be a sign of lung cancer.
Cancer Research also warns on changes in a cough you’ve had for a long time.
This includes coughs that become more painful, have a different sound or bring up coloured mucus or phlegm.
Other symptoms of lung cancer include persistent chest infections, persistent breathlessness and an ache or pain when breathing or coughing.
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Constant tiredness or lack of energy, and loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss are also symptoms.
The NHS advises seeing a doctor if you have any of those symptoms.
“These symptoms may not be due to cancer but it is important to get them checked by a doctor,” said Cancer Research.
Less common symptoms of lung cancer include a fever, difficulty or pain swallowing, wheezing and a hoarse voice.
Swelling of the face or neck, persistent shoulder pain and finger clubbing are other less common symptoms.
Finger clubbing relates to changes in the appearance of fingers, such as becoming more curved or the ends becoming larger.