What are the warning signs of lung cancer?

The number one warning sign of lung cancer is hemoptysis (coughing up blood).  A tumor in one of the lobes of the lungs can cause blood in the phlegm and unfortunately, this is often one of the signs of advanced lung cancer.  The key with lung cancer (as with all forms of cancer) is early detection. 

Early detection of lung cancer is often very difficult, as the signs and symptoms usually do not appear until the cancer has metastasized, or spread to the surrounding lymph nodes and distant organs.  However, there are several warning signs that may be present in lung cancer when early detection and treatment is still possible.

Who should be looking out for lung cancer?

93% of lung cancer victims are smokers.  This means 7% of lung cancer victims have never smoked--you are not immune to this aggressive form of cancer.  Because lung cancer is so much more prevalent among smokers, and in particular, heavy smokers, i.e., more than one pack per day, smokers should be a "high alert" for warning signs of lung cancer.

What are the early warning signs of lung cancer?

The early warning signs of lung cancer are abnormal breathing sounds and inflammation of the armpits (axilla). If your physician detects heavy, labored breathing during a breathing examination, you should at least be suspicious of lung cancer (if you are a smoker).  If a physical examination reveals  inflammation of the lymph nodes in your armpits, your index of suspicion for lung cancer should be raised even higher.

What do you do if you have the early warning signs of lung cancer?

Step number one is a chest x-ray, which is a good initial step at detecting obvious cases of lung cancer. If the chest x-ray is normal and your physician still suspects lung cancer (except in a microscopic or smaller form), a CT scan of the chest is a definitive imaging study to detect lung cancer.

When lung cancer is detected with a chest x-ray or CT scan of the chest, the abnormal tissue in the lung can be removed during a non-surgical procedure and evaluated by a pathologist for evidence of cancer cells.  The biopsy of the abnormal tissue in the lung will provide the most definitive evidence of lung cancer.

What are the different kinds of lung cancer?

The biopsy of the lung tumor will reveal whether the cancer victim has non-small cell lung cancer or small cell lung cancer--the two types of lung cancer.  Non-small cell lung cancer consists of 85% of all cases of lung cancer, while small cell lung cancer is present in roughly 15% of all cases of lung cancer.

Small cell lung cancer is very lethal and the five year surival rate with this form of lung cancer is less than 2%.  Non-small cell lung cancer, when detected in its earliest stages, can be highly survivable.  In Stage 1, non-small cell lung cancer has a five year survival rate of 85% and in Stage 2, the five year survival rate is 55%.

You want to know what kind of lung cancer is present, the "stage" of the cancer at the time of diagnosis and the five year survival rate.

If you have questions, I welcome your phone call

If you have questions about lung cancer, I welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 866-889-6882, or you can request my free book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, on the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.