Lung Cancer Symptoms


A network of organs and tissues constitute the respiratory system. Lungs are the part of the respiratory system that helps us to breathe. The disorders that restrict the lungs to function properly are known as lung diseases. Lung cancer is a type of lung disease. It can affect any part of the lungs and have various forms. Most often it occurs surrounding the areas of alveoli. In this tutorial, we will learn about lung cancer in depth.

Definition of Lung Cancer

Lung cancer can affect any part of the lungs and have various forms. Most often it occurs surrounding the areas of alveoli. Small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer are two main types of lung cancers. Small cell lung cancer multiplies and spreads quickly in comparison to non-small cell lung cancer. This type of cancer gives a good response to radiation therapy and chemotherapy. While non-small cell lung cancer is subcategorized into adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and large cell carcinoma.

Lung Cancer Symptoms

Symptoms of lung cancer differ from individual to individual. Some affected individuals have shown symptoms associated with the lungs. While other individuals whose lung cancer has spread to different parts of the body show the symptoms, particularly to the affected part of the body. In most cases, in its early stage symptoms of lung cancer are almost absent. As the disease in an advanced stage shows symptoms.

The common symptoms of lung cancer are listed below −

  • Pain in the chest or discomfort

  • Cough for a prolonged period and worsen over time.

  • Breathlessness or shortness of breath

  • Wheezing

  • Accumulation of fluid in the chest

  • Mucus may produce due to chronic cough

  • Cough is accompanied by blood

  • Respiratory infections appear very frequently

  • Weight loss

  • Fatigue

  • Appetite loss

  • Difficulty in swallowing

  • Inflammation either in the veins of the neck or of the face.

Causes of Lung Cancer

The causes of lung cancer are listed below −

  • Smoking − Smoking is one of the primary reasons for lung cancer. Smoking is responsible for damaging the cells that line the lungs. A cigarette is a carcinogenic agent that damage the cells of the lungs. In the beginning, the body is able to repair the damaged cells. But repeated exposure to smoking damage the normal cells that line up the lungs. As time passes the damage to cells becomes worst and maybe it leads to cancer.

  • Second-hand smoke − Inhalation of smoke coming out from a cigarette or from a smoker who breathes out the smoke. Repetitive exposure to passive smoking can also cause lung cancer.

  • Exposure to radon gas − The radon i.e., colourless and odourless gas present in our surroundings contributes to lung cancers. Radon gas is generated by the breakdown of uranium that is present in water, rock, and soil naturally. As a result, the radon gas is mixed with the air we breathe.

  • Exposure to asbestos − Asbestos is a natural mineral fiber that has industrial uses. Exposure to asbestos causes various lung diseases including lung cancer.

  • Family history − If an individual has a family history of lung cancer then he or she has an increased risk of lung cancer.

  • Radiation therapy − The lung cancer risk increases if a person undergoes radiation therapy in the chest for another type of cancer.

  • Long-term exposure to toxic chemicals and air pollutants also causes lung diseases.

  • HIV infection also increases the chances of cancer in the lungs.

Diagnosis of Lung Cancer

Lung cancer can be diagnosed by the following methods −

  • X-ray − A health care professional first prescribes for X-ray image of the lungs. With the help, of an X-ray abnormal mass and nodules can be identified.

  • CT scan − CT scan detects small lesions in the lungs that might not be able to detect by X-ray.

  • Sputum cytology − If an individual with a cough produces sputum then a health care professional can examine the sputum placed under the microscope. Examining sputum can reveal the presence of lung cancer.

  • Biopsy − Biopsy is a procedure where a sample of the abnormal cells is removed and sent to a laboratory for a test. A health care professional can perform the biopsy in a number of ways like bronchoscopy, mediastinoscopy, and needle biopsy.

Treatment and Medication

The doctor chooses a treatment based on the affected individual's health condition, type and stage of cancer, and patient preferences. The common treatment includes −

  • Surgery − In this, the surgeon removes lung cancer also the margin of healthy tissue. This surgery includes four procedures i.e., wedge resection, segmental resection, lobectomy, and pneumonectomy.

  • Radiation therapy − In radiation therapy, high power beams are used to kill the cancer cells. Mostly the treatment is combined with chemotherapy.

  • Chemotherapy − To damage or kill cancer cells, drugs are used in this technique. Chemotherapy drugs may be given intravenously or orally.

  • Stereotactic body radiotherapy − It is an intense radiation treatment.

  • Targeted drug therapy − It is based on detecting particular malformations in cancer cells.

  • Immunotherapy − It is applicable for patients whose cancer develops to other parts of the body or are in the advanced stage.

  • Laser therapy − Laser beams are used to kill cancer cells.

  • Palliative care − Palliative care is also known as supportive care. In this process, the doctor will recommend affected individuals to meet a supportive care team. So that patient is comfortable during or after cancer therapy.

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes can help to support wellness before or after treatment. It includes −

  • Building up the body so that the body is able to withstand the hardness of treatments.

  • Try to keep away from other diseases.

  • Boost with positive emotion before, after, or during the treatment.


Lung cancer can affect any part of the lungs and have various forms. Most often it occurs surrounding the areas of alveoli. Symptoms of lung cancer differ from individual to individual. In most cases, during its early stages symptoms are almost absent. As the disease reaches to advanced stages it shows symptoms.


Q1. What do you understand by carcinogens?

Ans. Carcinogens are harmful substances that may be able to cause cancer. They may generate naturally (UV light) or by humans i.e., smoke from cigarettes and fumes from automobiles.

Q2. What is bronchoscopy?

Ans. Bronchoscopy is a method in which a healthcare professional examine the abnormal growth of cells in the lungs by using a lighted tube. This lighted tube is inserted into the lungs through the mouth.

Q3. What is sputum?

Ans. Sputum is a mixture of saliva and mucus. Generally, sputum is accompanied by cough in case of respiratory infections.

Q4. What is HIV?

Ans. The full form of HIV is the human immunodeficiency virus. It is caused by viruses and affects our immune system. HIV cannot be cured but it can be controlled by proper medications.

Q5. What is wedge resection?

Ans. In wedge resection, a surgery is done to remove a small section of lung tissue. This lung tissue contains tumors along with the margin of healthy tissue.

Updated on: 29-Dec-2022


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