Lung cancer: Signs and symptoms to look out for
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Characterised as one of the most “common” types of cancer, lung cancer targets around 47,000 patients in the UK every year. Fortunately, being able to identify the cancer promptly could enhance your chances of effective treatment. Express.co.uk spoke to Dr Deborah Lee from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy about the “first” sign that could help.
Due to the position of lung cancer, it’s no surprise that symptoms can crop up in your lungs.
One of the “first” signs linked to the deadly condition is feeling out of breath, according to Dr Lee.
She said: “Feeling out of breath is a very unpleasant and often frightening experience.
“It is a symptom that can come on either suddenly or gradually, over a period of weeks or months.”
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While there are some obvious activities that can leave you out of breath, everyday things might also cause this symptom to appear in lung cancer patients.
From household chores to getting dressed in the morning, Dr Lee shares that various simple tasks could exacerbate this symptom.
The expert said: “People say they have noticed their breathing has become difficult, and they can’t get enough breath inside them, sometimes saying they feel they are suffocating.
“There may also be a cough or pain when breathing in and out. Usually, the breathlessness resolves when they rest.”
However, certain times of the day can make the symptom feel particularly “worse”.
Dr Lee added: “It may also be worse at night when you try to lie down to sleep.
“Lung cancer patients are usually best to sleep propped up, or even in a recliner chair.”
When it comes to spotting breathlessness triggered by lung cancer, you’re looking for a persistent, at-times-worse feeling out of breath.
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Fortunately, it can improve once you start the right treatment. However, lung cancer isn’t the only cancer linked to this red flag sign.
Dr Lee said: “Lung cancer causes dyspnoea, but other cancers can do this too, for example, lymphoma, where clusters of enlarged lymph nodes may press on the trachea and airways.
“Other cancers which have spread, causing lung metastases, can also cause dyspnoea.
“Cancers which spread to the lungs include cancer of the breast, bowel, head and neck, kidneys, testicles and uterus.”
Luckily, there are also other symptoms that could help identify lung cancer.
According to the NHS, the “main” symptoms of lung cancer include:
- Cough that doesn’t go away after two or three weeks
- Long-standing cough that gets worse
- Chest infections that keep coming back
- Coughing up blood
- Ache or pain when breathing or coughing
- Persistent tiredness or lack of energy
- Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss.
“If you experience any of these symptoms, you are strongly advised to see your GP without delay,” Dr Lee added.
There’s also plenty you can do to reduce your risk of this condition altogether.
The expert recommended quitting smoking as cigarettes cause around 70 percent of lung cancers in the UK.
However, you could also benefit from following a healthy diet rich in fruit and veg.
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