1. NO SYMPTOMS: As much as 1-20% patients are symptomless in the early stage until cancer metastasize/spreads. Hence, regular checkups are encouraged for early diagnosis where a typical “coin lesion” or “mass lesion” can be seen on chest x-ray.
2. PERSISTENT COUGH: Cough that lasts for 14 days should be checked by the doctor, preferably lung specialist.
3. WORSENING COUGH: Cough that worsens over weeks. Cough may increase in duration, associated with more mucous production or associated with blood in sputum (hemoptysis) producing “rusty colored” sputum.
4. SHORTNESS OF BREATH (DYSPNEA): Difficulty in breathing arises when the tumor starts compressing the trachea or due to associated fluid buildup. This may be accompanied by high-pitched whistling sound while breathing known as “wheeze”.
5. HOARSENESS OF VOICE: Hoarseness due to common cold or allergies tends to go away while persistent deeper, hoarser voice is due to involvement of nerves of larynx.
6. CHEST PAIN: Lung cancer can produce pain in chest, tip of shoulders and back. Pain typically increases on deep breathing, coughing and laughing loudly.
7. UNEXPLAINED LOSS OF WEIGHT: Loss of weight without any efforts is one of the early symptoms of most of the cancers. Weight loss is said to be significant when 10% of total body weight is lost over 6 months.