November the 1st marked the beginning of the Lung Cancer Awareness Month. With around 130 new cases of lung cancer in the UK every day, recognising the symptoms and potential warning signs is crucial.
Of course we are blessed in Liverpool to have one of the World’s leading Lunch Cancer support and prevention charity, Roy Castle Lunch Cancer Foundation You can find out more about it here.
Lung cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK, accounting for 21% of all the UK cancer deaths, and around three-quarters of lung cancer cases are diagnosed at a late stage.
This is often because the symptoms won’t show up until the tumour has reached a relevant size and symptoms are often confused with other general conditions.
It’s been shown that 79% of lung cancer cases are preventable. So, knowing and recognising the symptoms of lung cancer is really important. If you experience any of these symptoms for more than three weeks, book an appointment and speak to your GP.
1. A cough
This is the most common and misleading symptom, as it’s such a general condition that can be often be chalked up to cold or flu. Most of the time, if a cough is accompanied by running nose and sore throat, there’s nothing to worry about – it’s probably a seasonal infection which will disappear in a few days.
However, if the cough has been persistent for more than three weeks and is accompanied by blood or rust-coloured mucus, it might be a sign of lung cancer.
2. Feeling out of breath
Breathlessness after working out at the gym or after climbing up few flights of stairs is normal and shortness of breath is also connected to other causes, such as a common cold, chest infections, panic attacks and smoking. But if you experience regular shortness of breath, especially when there is no obvious reason (like when you’re sitting down and relaxed), then it might be a symptom of lung cancer.
3. Chest pain
Most chest pain, especially if mild and short-lived, shouldn’t be a sign of anything serious. However, in some cases, persistent chest pain may be a sign that your lungs are not working correctly and so might be connected to lung cancer.
4. Feeling tired, loss of appetite and weight loss
Unexplained weight loss of 10lbs or more may be the first sign of cancer. Moreover, people with lung cancer may find difficulty in chewing and swallowing as well as nausea or lack of appetite.
Cancer cells use a huge amount of the body’s energy supply, so another common symptom that accompanies weight loss is excessive tiredness and fatigue.
5. A hoarse voice
Abnormal voice chances, such as the voice sounding raspy or breathy, is often due to a disorder related to the vocal cords such as laryngitis. But if it goes on for more than three weeks, get it checked out – it could be a sign you have laryngeal cancer.