Recognizing Early Symptoms: Lung Cancer Symptoms To Watch For If You Smoke

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide and smoking is the leading cause of this deadly disease. If you are a smoker, it is important to be aware of the early symptoms of lung cancer, as early detection can significantimprove treatment outcomes. If you recognize these symptoms, you can take immediate action and see a doctor. Here are some early symptoms of lung cancer to look out for:

  • Persistent Cough: A persistent cough that lasts more than a few weeks can be an early symptom of lung cancer. Be aware of any changes in your cough, e.g. B. if the cough gets worse over time, occurs more frequently, or produces blood or rust-colour mucus.
  • Shortness of Breath: If you experience shortness of breath or wheezing, this could be an indication of lung cancer. This symptom occurs due to blockages in the airways caused by the tumour that make it difficult for air to flow freely.
  • Chest Pain: Chest pain that is persistent and doesn't seem to have any other obvious cause should not be ignored. Lung cancer can cause discomfort or severe pain in the chest, shoulders or back. The pain can be made worse by deep breathing, coughing, or laughing.
  • Unexplained Weight Loss: Unexplained weight loss is a common symptom of many cancers, including lung cancer. If you notice a significant and unexplained loss of appetite and weight, it's important to see a doctor to determine the underlying cause.
  • Fatigue and Weakness: Feeling tired and weak all the time, even when you get enough rest, can be an early symptom of lung cancer. The tumour can affect red blood cell production and cause anaemia, which leads to fatigue and weakness, which could be an early symptom of lung cancer. Tumours in the lungs can press on the nerves that control the vocal cords, causing changes in voice.
  • Common Infections: Lung cancer can weaken the immune system and make people more susceptible to respiratory infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia. If you struggle with these infections frequently, it may be worth discussing with your doctor.
  • Bone Pain: As lung cancer progresses, it can spread to other parts of the body, including the bones. This can lead to bone pain, especially in the back, hips, or chest. If you experience persistent or worsening bone pain, it is important to have it checked out by a healthcare professional.
  • When Tying the Fingernails: When tying the fingernails, the fingernails curve downwards and the fingertips appear rounded. Although it can have a variety of causes, it can also be linked to lung cancer. If you notice this change in your nails, contact your doctor for further evaluation.
  • Changes in Appetite and Swallowing: Lung cancer can cause changes in appetite, which can result in a loss of interest in food or other changes.


While smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, it is important to note that non-smokers can also develop the disease. Recognizing the early symptoms of lung cancer can lead toearly detection and prompt medical intervention. If you experience persistent symptoms or have concerns about your lung health, consult a doctor who can advise you, evaluate your symptoms, and recommend appropriate diagnostic tests if necessary. By staying proactive and taking care of your respiratory health, you can reduce the impact of lung cancer and improve your overall well-being.

Dr.Gyanendra Agarwal
Department of Internal Medicine, Respiratory & Critical Care Medicine
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