It is widely believed that a cough is a major symptom of lung cancer, or that anyone diagnosed with lung cancer will experience shortness of breath. However, this is not always the case. In fact, there are several surprising signs and symptoms that can indicate lung cancer.
Facts about lung cancer
More than 225,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with lung cancer in the next year. Although the incidence of lung cancer has declined over the past decade, lung cancer still accounts for about 13% of all cancers diagnosed in the United States.
Smoking is one of the main causes of lung cancer.
Smoking causes 80% of lung cancer deaths in women and 90% in men.
Men who smoke are 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer.
Women who smoke are 13 times more likely to develop lung cancer.
But nonsmokers get lung cancer—risk factors linked to radon gas and work-related carcinogens. Non-smokers exposed to secondhand smoke have a 20-30% increased risk of developing lung cancer.
Lung cancer is more common in people over the age of 65. However, young adults can develop lung cancer, although less than 2% of patients are under the age of 35.
Expected symptoms of lung cancer
Lung cancer can cause symptoms that most people would expect. These symptoms are related to the basic function of our lungs. These symptoms are:
Coughing. The cough does not go away or gets worse.
Shortness of breath. Shortness of breath, chest tightness, difficulty breathing, or not getting enough air.
Coughing up blood, sputum and mucus. Coughing up bloody or rust-colored sputum or mucus.
Chest pain. Pain that gets worse when you laugh, cough, or take a deep breath.
Breathing. Exhalation is a high-pitched whistling sound that occurs during exhalation.
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Unexpected signs and symptoms of lung cancer
What types of symptoms would be considered unexpected, shocking, or surprising? These symptoms seem unrelated to our lungs. The general public does not expect these signs and symptoms to warn of lung cancer.