Lung Cancer: Early Warning Signs & Symptoms

Lung Cancer: Early Warning Signs & Symptoms

Updated: Apr 21, 2021

Lung cancer is a virulent form of uncontrollable cell growth that is able to metastasize and spread throughout the body. Survivability rates have improved in recent years, but much of the determination is decided simply by how early the disease is caught. Knowing the early warnings to keep an eye out for can help ensure you get the help you need when you need it if that time ever comes.

Easiest Ways to Check Yourself For Lung Cancer

Many of the symptoms associated with lung cancers can be seen in other conditions too. Just because you display some of these symptoms does not mean you have cancer, but you should go see a doctor to be checked out fully.

Unexplained or Abnormal Coughing

One of the most common things you see in cancer patients early on is an unexplainable cough that just does not seem to go away. If you have been coughing a lot for a long time, that is a serious sign you may have lung cancer. If you are spitting up blood when you cough, you should go to the hospital ASAP. This normally means something serious is wrong with your lungs.

Wheezing, Hoarseness, and Difficulty Breathing

A sudden increase in difficulty breathing is another super common sign of cancer in the lungs. Sometimes you can audibly hear a change in the tone of breathing or a person's speech. It will sound more hoarse. People may start to feel like they are not getting enough air when they breathe too.

Unexplainable Fatigue And Weight Loss

The body will start to waste away as cancer progresses. It becomes impossible to consume enough to avoid weight loss. If you start dropping weight crazily fast and are tired no matter how much you sleep, go see a doctor. These signs indicate that the body is being drained of resources and does not get the chance to recover. A situation like this could be dire if you have not gone to see a doctor already.

The sooner you see a doctor, the better your prognosis will be if diagnosed with cancer.

Hormonal Issues

Some cancer cells produce substances that act on the endocrine system or your body's hormone system. These chemicals can cause effects at organs and other places that are not close to cancer without cancer metastasizing. There are several types of hormonal systems that normally can be affected by lung cancer. These symptoms could be signs of other cancers or even another disease entirely as well.

Antidiuretic Hormone:

If cancer affects your ADPH hormone's secretion, you will experiment with difficulty with your ruination and hydration levels. You may start drinking much less or much more than usual. You also could end up urinating more or less frequently.


Cortisol is part of the body's adrenal system. Excessive cortisol levels are produced during periods of stress. Prolonged levels of high cortisol have detrimental health effects.


Lung cancer can also produce a condition called Hypercalcinemia. Where there are higher than normal levels of calcium in the blood. High levels of calcium can affect multiple systems in the body negatively. You may urinate more often, feel confused, or feel bodily pain if your calcium levels are excessive.

Blood Flow Problems:

The superior vena cava is one of the largest veins in the body, and it runs alongside the lungs as it enters the heart. Large tumors on the lungs can put pressure on these veins and even cause partial occupations. This leads to blood backing up in the body and pooling in the face and limbs. You can see a reddish appearance in the body parts that are affected.

Compression of Facial Nerves

Tumors located in the right area of the upper lungs can cause problems with facial nerves. They compress them dampening their signaling. You may lose motor control in portions of your face or neck. Tingling and numbness are also important things to track.


Signs Lung Cancer Has Spread To Other Areas

As cancers develop and progress through various stages, eventually, they can break from their initial site. They then float through the bloodstream and can eventually attach themselves to new sites affecting new organs.

Painful Bones

If lung cancer spreads to the bones, then you may start to feel pain in the bones. This type of cancer causes gradual ossification of the body and is known to be extremely painful.

Nervous System Disruption

Sometimes lung cancers can spread to the brain. When this happens, the affected individual will experience nervous system problems. They may have difficulty balancing, speaking, or doing other activities that were once trivial.


When lung cancer metastasizes and begins to affect the liver, it can cause jaundice. This is an easily identifiable condition. Look at someone's skin, which has jaundice, and you will notice the distinctive yellow tint to their flesh immediately. You may also see the same type of yellowing occurs in the eyes of infected individuals.

Swollen Lymph Nodes

Lymph nodes are collections of immune cells distributed throughout the body. They become inflamed in response to infections. You may notice multiple lymph nodes begin to swell up throughout the body if the lung cancer spreads to numerous other sites.