Lung Cancer All Symptoms

You have a lot of coughing, and sometimes you cough blood Could you have lung cancer? Sometimes you can’t breathe Could it be caused by a lung cancer? You’ve suffered three pneumonias this year Is this normal, or can it be due to lung cancer? You have a lot of hiccups and your voice is hoarse A friend told you it might be lung cancer Is it true? Read this article about the symptoms of lung cancer ! You’ll find all the answers to these questions. And many more! Imagine that you have lung cancer. It is inside your lung, growing without you noticing it It is very small at first, and it gradually grows in size: one millimeter, half centimeter, one centimeter Which symptoms can it produce? Let’s see them, one by one!

Symptom 1 – You cough, and progressively you will cough more and more Cough is the most common symptom of lung cancer In people who didn’t usually cough, coughing appears, and progressively worsens In people with chronic coughing, such as smokers or people who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the person realize that his coughing has changed You’re probably asking yourself, “Why does lung cancer cause cough?” The cough is a reflex of expulsion of the air from the lungs which tries to sweep out the mucus and foreign bodies that have entered with the inspiration and that is irritating the trachea or bronchi As lung cancer grows in the respiratory tubes it excites their receptors that detect if something has entered with the inspired air triggering the cough reflex This irritation is constant and continuous,so our cough will be persistent throughout the day

Symptom 2 – Your cough begins to get out stained with blood Hemoptysis is the appearance of blood ejected when coughing This blood can have two origins: 1.- The tumor growing in the wall of the respiratory tubes can break the small blood vessels that are responsible for bringing the oxygen and nutrients to these tubes 2. If the tumor is large enough, one of the new blood vessels that the tumor has created to feed itself can be broken In one way or another, when coughing, blood spots will come out with the mucus At first they are only tiny threads But the larger the blood vessel that has broken,the greater the expulsion of blood with the cough will be

Symptom 3 – You begin to have difficulty breathing Dyspnea is shortness of breath In a lung cancer that is located in the central zone of the lung dyspnea is usually due to the tumor obstructing the inside of the respiratory tubes so that the air enters with more difficulty and in smaller amount due to the progressive tube narrowness That’s why we have the feeling that we lack air And it progressively worsens At first it only manifests when we exercise But it’s getting worse, and at the end dyspnea will appear even when we are at rest

Symptom 4 – Strange sounds begin to be heard when you breathe When the air passes through a narrow tube it can produce sounds They are usually high-pitched sounds, like whistles These type of sounds can be heard in people with a centrally located lung cancer They are heard with the stethoscope and if the tumor grows too much they could be heard even without any instrument

Symptom 5 – You start suffering too many lung infections There are bacteria in the whole body And the lung also contains them If we are ventilating well all our lung tissue,the amount of bacteria is stable But if a tumor grows, this causes a zone of the lung to be less ventilated or even receive no air a phenomenon called atelectasis In this situation mucus and dead cells will accumulate inside the lung which makes a perfect breeding ground for bacteria to grow This excessive growth of the bacterial population will end up in a pneumonia In fact, sometimes it is the appearance of a pneumonia what ends up causing us to discover hidden behind it, a lung cancer Pneumonia due to lung cancer usually causes more tiredness than pneumonia that has appeared because the person has contracted an infection

Symptom 6 – You may suffer chest pain, of various types While the tumor is growing inside the lung,the patient does not feel pain since the inside of the lung does not have receptors that collect the painful information Pain is a specific symptom of lung cancer that, because of its location on the periphery of the lung affect the capsule that covers it: this capsule is the pleura If the mass of tumor cells reaches the pleura,it will irritate the nerve endings that pleura has which will make the pain appear A pain that is accentuated with breathing,because breathing stretches and relaxes the pleura stimulating the pain receptors more and more Lung cancer, when it grows a lot, can reach chest bones On the back it can infiltrate some thoracic vertebra, so pain in the back will appear Cancer located near the sides and the front of the chest wall can infiltrate some ribs which will cause a chest pain that is accentuated when you breathe deeply In both cases the pain is specifically caused by periosteal infiltration by the tumor The periosteum is a membrane that covers the bones, and that has abundant innervation so it is very sensitive to the pain

Symptom 7 – You have a pleural effusion and breathe with difficulty The pleura is a membrane that covers both the lungs and the thoracic wall inside It is responsible for producing and absorbing the pleural fluid a small amount of fluid that makes the friction between the lungs and the ribs smooth Sometimes lung cancer infiltrates this pleura,which will suffer inflammation When the pleura becomes irritated, it produces more fluid This liquid that the pleura of the ribs is not able to absorb with enough speed will accumulate in the pleural cavity, around the lung The more liquid there is, the less the lung can expand, so you will put less air into it You will begin to breathe badly, with difficulty You will have the feeling that you drown This sensation is called dyspnea, as we have already seen

Symptom 8 – Your family and friends tell you that your voice has changed Sometimes the person with lung cancer becomes hoarse for no apparent reason It is usually attributed to the cough, but that is not the real cause The hoarseness is motivated because one of the two vocal cords that we have has been paralyzed It has stopped working What motivates this paralysis? The nerves responsible for the vocal cords to move are the recurrent laryngeal nerves There are two: right and left When the tumor reaches the left recurrent laryngeal nerve on its path below the aortic arch if the cancer compresses or infiltrates the nerve, this may alter its function When it stops working, the vocal cord on the left side will be paralyzed This paralysis will be noticed because the voice changes, becoming more hoarse

Symptom 9 – You have progressively more hiccups,and sometimes it’s difficult for you to breathe Hiccups in a patient with lung cancer maybe motivated by the irritation of one of the two phrenic nerves innervating the diaphragm when they pass through the mediastinum This irritation will cause the phrenic nerve on one side to trigger electric impulses without any rhythm which will move the diaphragm in an arrhythmic way with respect to respiratory movements We experience it with hiccups, sometimes very difficult to treat If the infiltration due to the growing cancer completely cancels the function of one of the phrenic nerves this can produce the paralysis of half of the diaphragm, which will manifest as a difficulty to breathe Dyspnea will appear, since the area of the paralyzed diaphragm does not move the lung air on that side

Symptom 10 – You start swallowing food with difficulty Difficulty swallowing occurs if the tumor of the lymph nodes infiltrated by cancer cells compress the esophagus as it travels through the mediastinum into the stomach The esophagus, which is a muscle tube, when is pushed and compressed from the outside can’t transport the food we have swallowed into the stomach, so that we feel that we swallow badly and even that the food we eat gets stuck inthe chest

Symptom 11 – You begin to notice punctures in the center of the chest The pericardium is a membrane that is covering the heart Lung cancer that grows into the mediastinum can contact it, infiltrating it This infiltration makes the pericardium inflamed(a phenomenon called “pericarditis”), and it fills with fluid When this happens, we may feel a pain in the chest, such as a series of punctures and have difficulty breathing (a symptom we know is called dyspnea) These symptoms cause a lot of anxiety in the person who suffers them In the most severe case, the pericardium is filled with so much fluid that it doesn’t let blood enter the heart If so, heart won’t pump enough blood with oxygen into the body This phenomenon is called cardiac tamponade,and is so serious that it can cause if not treated promptly, the death of the person

Symptom 12 – Your chest, arms and face swell It is a set of symptoms that occur when lung cancer, especially of the right lung grows towards the mediastinum and compresses the superior vena cava The return of blood in the vein will be slower and more difficult, which may cause the swelling of the chest the neck, the face, and even the arms If the vena cava syndrome is severe, dilated veins can be seen through the skin as if they were the varicose veins of the legs

Symptom 13 – You begin to notice strange sensations in one arm The Pancoast syndrome is caused by the involvement of the brachial plexus on its path from the neck to the arm The brachial plexus is the bundle of nerves that comes out of the spine at neck level, on both sides This brachial plexus deals with sensitivity and movement of each arm When lung cancer infiltrates these nerves of the brachial plexus, left or right, it can produce Irritating symptoms in the nerves that carry the sensitivity of the arm, resulting in rare sensations (called paresthesias) or pain, typically located in the arm, forearm and fingers 4th and 5th of the hand Deficit symptoms in the nerves that deal with mobility, so the arm will move progressively worse and its muscles will get thinner, leaving one arm thinner than the other

Symptom 14 – You have one of your eyes more closed and sunk than the other Horner’s syndrome is due to the involvement of the sympathetic lymphatic chain namely the upper cervical ganglion, by lung cancer when it grows upwards reaching the lower part of the neck It is the sum of the following symptoms Ptosis, or falling of the upper eyelid. Therefore one eye will be more closed than the other Miosis, which leads to decreased pupil size. One pupil looks smaller than the one on the other eye And enophthalmos, which causes that the eye of that side is more sunk in its orbit With anhydrosis, which is the diminished sweating of the face on the side of the tumor

Symptom 15 – You progressively cough more and breathe worse When the lymphatic vessels inside the lung are filled with cancerous cells a serious clinical syndrome can occur: carcinomatous lymphangitis You may see Dyspnea Irritative cough And decreased amount of oxygen carried by blood

Symptom 16 – You get more and more slimmer,and progressively you run out of muscle When the amount of tumor, whether inside or outside the lung itself, is very large the person suffering from it may begin to lose weight gradually This is due to two reasons: The competition between the cells of the lung cancer and normal cells for the nutrients that come from the foods we eat And the appearance of a metabolic syndrome,the anorexia-cachexia syndrome, which causes us weight loss even though we continue eating well

Metastasis: Cancer travels to other organs of the body When lung cancer cells decide to enter a blood vessel either from the lung itself or one of the vessels that makes the cancer receive the food and oxygen necessary for their cells to divide these tumor cells travel throughout the body On that trip they choose the area where they want to stay, and when they get there they leave the blood vessel establishing their residence, multiplying and increasing in size In lung cancer, the sites where cancer cells prefer to go and live are brain, bones, the adrenal glands, the lung on the other side, liver, and kidneys. In all these sites, when the group of tumor cells is very large, symptoms will appear

Metastasis in the adrenal glands Sometimes the cells that escape from the lung cancer through the blood infiltrate one of the glands with the size of a walnut that are located above each of the kidneys the adrenal glands When cancer cells stay there, they grow, but they do not usually produce any symptoms

Metastasis in the other lung When the lung cancer cells travel through the blood to the lung of the side that was previously healthy the symptoms that the patient already have could be aggravated cough, hemoptysis and difficulty breathing, as there is less and less lung tissue useful for oxygenating the blood

Metastasis in the kidneys Unless the metastasis that come from the lung completely kill the function of both kidneys the absence of symptoms is the general tonic If the metastasis break some blood vessel of the kidney, blood can end up in the urine If the broken vessel is small, it can lead to hematuria that is not usually visible to the naked eye being discovered in a urinalysis If the broken vessel is large, you may seethe urine stained red and even clots may form in the bladder.

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