Early But Terrifying Signs of Lung Cancer

Early detection is critical for cancer treatment and lung cancer is no exception. Even non-smokers can get lung cancer, so it’s important to be constantly vigilant about the early warning signs. The sooner you identify a potential symptom, the sooner treatment can begin in the event that it’s serious.

Lung cancer is common but deadly. It’s the second most common form of cancer among Americans, and accounts for the the vast majority of cancer deaths. Treatment can be painful and recovery can be grueling. For that reason it’s important to listen to your body and be proactive about your health.

Don’t ignore a persistent or worsening cough. It’s normal to cough for a week or two when you’re sick, but a cough that persists longer than that (especially when accompanied by colored phlegm) might be a cause for concern. Other symptoms like coughing up blood and chest pain are obvious red flags, but also be aware of other subtler signs like weight loss and lack of appetite.

You’re at a higher risk of developing lung cancer based on a number of factors, the biggest of which is cigarette smoking. Smoking causes the majority of cases, and second-hand smoke is just as dangerous. Exposure to radon, asbestos or certain chemicals might also put you at risk.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure: there are simple steps you can take today to reduce your risk. If you’re a smoker, consider quitting or reducing your use. Avoid the carcinogens listed above, and eat a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables.

Many lung cancer symptoms don’t manifest themselves until the cancer has spread (or metastasized) to other parts of the body, at which point it may be too late to effectively treat. Early detection is the key to treatment, so be aware of the warning signs.