Early Symptoms of Lung Cancer

 

Lung Cancer is the number one Cancer in males in India. In Early Stage, Lung Cancer may not produce any symptom. That is why, only about 10% of the cases are diagnosed when still confined to lungs and majority have disease spread beyond lungs by the time diagnosis is made.






Signs and Symptoms of Early Stage Lung Cancer


  • Cough that doesn't go away
  • Coughing up blood
  • Change of colour or Volume of sputum
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Recurrent Chest infections
  • Persistent Pain in the Chest area

If the Lung Cancer spreads to other parts of the body, the patient may feel symptoms in other parts of the body including lungs, lymph nodes, bones, brain, liver, and adrenal glands etc.

Symptoms of Lung Cancer in Advanced Stage

  • Weight loss
  • Hemoptysis (Coughing out Blood)
  • Fatigue
  • Neck Swelling
  • General weakness
  • Headache or other Neurological symptoms, such as memory loss
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Bone fractures not related to accidental injury
  • Hoarseness of Voice


Lung Cancer Diagnosis

There are a wide range of tests and diagnostic procedures that can be done to diagnose Lung Cancer. These include:

  • Chest X Ray
  • Sputum cytology
  • Bronchoscopy
  • CT Scan
  • PET Scan
  • MRI
  • Needle biopsy

Early diagnosis of Lung Cancer is a big challenge in India because of a high incidence of Tuberculosis. Most of the symptoms of Early Lung cancer mentioned above are also the symptoms of Tuberculosis of the Lung. In a large percentage of cases, patients presenting with these symptoms are labelled as Tuberculosis (without any tests) and given treatment for many months till symptoms increase and tests are done which reveal Cancer. We must remember that "Every shadow on Chest X-Ray is not Tuberculosis". It is important to be aware of Lung Cancer also and do appropriate tests to diagnose it. Diagnosis in a late stage, as is the case in majority, leaves the patient with limited treatment options and limited survival.

Early Detection of Lung Cancer

Lung cancer was non-existent in the pre-industrialisation era. The industrialisation and smoking led to an exponential increase, making it the number one cancer in the western world. Same stats stand valid and true for Indian sub-continent as Lung Cancer is becoming number one cancer in males and increasing rapidly in females too.

Lung Cancer Survival Rate

In Lung Cancer, the survival is directly related to the stage at diagnosis. Stage 1 i.e. when the disease is still confined to within the Lung, has the best survival. However, over 90% of the cases in India are diagnosed in Stage 3 or stage 4 with very poor survival. In the absence of any magical molecule for treating advanced Stage disease, diagnosing Lung Cancer early and operating it remains our best chance to achieve cure. Thus, it is vital to diagnose Lung Cancer early to be able to make a dent in the survival figures. Unfortunately, it is not possible to achieve so in the "symptomatic" stage as symptoms either do not appear or are very non-specific in the early stage making diagnosing impossible. The best way to diagnose Lung cancer early is to catch it even before it produces symptoms. This is where "Screening" (i.e. doing a test in normal people with no symptom to detect a disease before it produces symptoms) comes into the picture.

Smoking and Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer is one of those few cancers in the body where the causative agent is definitely known i.e. smoking. It is also known that the risk of Lung Cancer in smokers increases in proportion to the duration (no. of years of smoking) and severity of smoking exposure (i.e. no. of cigarettes smoked per day). Thus, there is an "AT RISK" population whose chance of getting Lung Cancer increases with increasing exposure. This provides us the "Target" population for applying any screening tool for Early diagnosis of Lung Cancer.

Advantage of Low Dose CT Scan in Lung Cancer

In the recent past, the "National Lung Cancer Screening Trial" in America showed a 20% reduction in Lung cancer mortality because of earlier diagnosis by using "Low Dose CT Scan" as a screening tool in the "at risk" population i.e. Older people with over 30 years history of Cigarette smoking. This landmark trial had led to acceptance of "Low Dose CT Scan" as an effective screening tool for early diagnosis of lung cancer in America.

India: The Way Forward

In India, there has been no such study. It is feared that high incidence of Tuberculosis and other infectious diseases in our country will reveal many "suspicious lesions" in the screening CT Scan. Differentiating "Lung Cancer" from other causes in the "suspicious lesions" will be a challenge. As, tissue diagnosis is the gold standard, it may lead to lot of biopsies or resections with its attendant risks. Whether, this risk is worth taking or not has been a subject matter of intense debate in medical circles and the final answer will only emerge when such a study is carried out.

 

 

More About Lung Cancer

 

 

Lung Cancer FAQ's

Is There Any Treatment for Lung Cancer?

Lung Cancer can be treated. As a matter of fact, it can be cured as well, provided it is diagnosed at an Early Stage. So In Lung Cancer, earliest possible diagnosis can provide cure of the disease. There is no other disease in which early diagnosis is as important for improving survival as Lung Cancer is. Unfortunately, a large percentage of cases of Lung Cancer in our country are misdiagnosed as TB when they are in early stages. This leads of majority being diagnosed in advanced stages, when cure is not possible.

How Do You Know, if You Have Lung Cancer?

Lung Cancer occurs primarily in smokers of long duration. So, if you have been a smoker for long time and suffer from symptoms like : Cough that doesn't go away, Coughing up blood, Change of colour or Volume of sputum, Shortness of Breath, Recurrent Chest infections, Persistent pain in the Chest area. Then you should get yourself evaluated in detail to rule out early Lung Cancer.

Lung Cancer Early Signs & 1st Sign of Lung Cancer

The Signs and Symptoms of Early Stage Lung Cancer could be:
  • Cough that doesn't go away
  • Coughing up blood
  • Change of colour or Volume of sputum
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Recurrent Chest infections
  • Persistent pain in the Chest area

How is Lung Cancer Diagnosed?

There are a wide range of tests and diagnostic procedures that can be done to diagnose Lung Cancer which includes:
  • Chest X Ray
  • Sputum cytology
  • Bronchoscopy
  • CT Scan of the Chest
  • PET Scan
  • MRI
  • Needle biopsy

How to Detect Lung Cancer Symptoms?

Lung cancer symptoms includes cough that doesn't go away, coughing up blood, change of sputum colour, shortness of breath, recurrent chest infections or persistent pain. Smokers are pre-disposed to get Lung Cancer. So, long term smokers developing any of these symptoms should be suspected to be due to Lung Cancer unless proved otherwise by other investigations and the appropriate investigations are mentioned above.

How Long Does it Take to Diagnose
Lung Cancer?

The diagnosis of Lung Cancer can be done in maximum few day's time, if all the investigations mentioned are available at the centre.

Do Symptoms of Lung Cancer Differ Between
Men and Women?

The symptoms of lung cancer and the investigations are the same in men and women, which includes:
  • Cough that doesn't go away
  • Coughing up blood
  • Change of colour or Volume of sputum
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Recurrent Chest infections
  • Persistent Pain in the Chest area
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • General weakness
  • Hoarseness of Voice etc.

Signs of Lung Cancer in Smokers

The signs of lung cancer in smokers are no different from those in non-smokers. However, it must be re-iterated that smokers are many times more prone to develop lung cancer than non-smokers. So development of any signs and symptoms mentioned above in a smoker is a far more likely to be due to Lung Cancer then in a non-smoker. However, a word of caution here: due to increasing pollution in Indian cities, we are seeing more and more Lung Cancer in so called non-smokers. This is because of the exposure to environmental pollution is equivalent to smoking many cigarettes- hence, even the non-smokers are now having higher risk of getting Lung Cancer like smokers.

What Are The Chances of Lung Cancer
Even After Quitting Smoking?

Smoking increases the chances of Lung Cancer. The risk is directly proportional to the level of exposure i.e. Number of Cigarettes smoker per day and the number of years smoked. As the number of cigarettes and the duration goes on increasing, the risk goes on increasing. On cessation of smoking, the increased risk stays where it was at the time of cessation and does not increase further. However, it never returns to non-smoking levels.

It is never too late for quitting because by continuing to smoke you are continuing to increase your risk of not only Lung cancer but also COPD, which is as deadly as Lung cancer.
 

Lung Cancer Symptom - Back Pain?

Back pain is not a symptom of Lung Cancer except in a situation where Lung Cancer has spread to involve the back bone. However, persistent back pain in a smoker should arouse the suspicion of Lung Cancer and the same should be ruled out by proper investigations.

Can Lung Cancer be Completely Cured?

Yes, lung cancer can be cured completely if diagnosed in stages 1 & 2.

What Does Back Pain from Lung Cancer Feel Like?

Back pain from lung cancer is usually localised to a particular site and is present continuously at that site only. In other causes of back pain like spondylitis etc, the back pain keeps shifting its location and comes sometimes radiates to legs also.

Signs of Lung Cancer in Female Smokers

The signs of lung cancer in female smokers are no different from those in male smokers or even non smokers. These includes coughing up blood, change of sputum colour, shortness of breath, recurrent chest infections or persistent pain in the chest.

Lung Pain in Back Left & Right Side

Sometimes when the lung cancer spreads from the lungs to the chest wall, patient may experience pain in the chest on the right or the left side. This pain sometimes be very severe also. Again, this development in smokers should always be looked at with suspicion.

Early Signs of Lung Cancer in Smokers

The signs of lung cancer in smokers are no different from those of non-smokers. These includes coughing up blood, change of sputum colour, shortness of breath, recurrent chest infections or persistent pain in the chest.

How to Spot Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer can be spotted by looking for signs and symptoms of Lung Cancer (as mentioned above). Thereafter, these patients needs to have proper investigations to confirm the diagnosis.

What Are The Types of Surgery Possible for
Lung Cancer in India?

In cases, suitable for surgery, the same can be done by the conventional open surgery or by the Key-Hole method. The key-hole method could be Video-Assisted-Thoracoscopic-Surgery (VATS) or Robotic- Assisted-Thoracoscopic-Surgery (RATS). The choice of the procedure depends on the stage of the tumour, location of the tumour and the most importantly the expertise of the operative team. While open surgery facilities are available everywhere, VATS and RATS need very high levels of skills and team work which is available at select centres. The team at Centre for Chest Surgery & Institute of Robotic Surgery at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi has been a pioneer in this and has country's largest experience in VATS and RATS for Lung Cancer.

What Test Needs to be Done to Detect Lungs Cancer?

Lung cancer can be detected by various investigations which includes:
  • Chest X Ray
  • Sputum cytology
  • Bronchoscopy
  • CT Scan of the Chest
  • PET Scan
  • MRI
  • Needle biopsy

Last Stage of Lung Cancer - is There Any Hope?

In the Last stage of Lung Cancer, cure is not possible. However, today there are many new drugs available which can lead to significant enhancement of survival as compared to no treatment. Additionally, patients in the last stage of Lung Cancer needs a lot of supportive therapy and "palliative Care" to make their life comfortable and less painful sometimes, the tumour block windpipe and this can be opened by bronchoscopic means, sometimes they develop fluid in the chest causing breathlessness. This can also can be helped by removing the fluid. Thus, overall a proper "Lung Cancer Service" can provide effective care to all stages of lung cancer i.e. cure for those in early stages and care for those in last stages. Centre for Chest Surgery at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi offers such service to all the Lung Cancer patients.

Could a Persistent Cough is a Sign of Lung
Cancer & Does Coughing Prevails in Lung Cancer?

Sometimes persistent cough in a smoker is a very sinister development and should looked at with very suspicion.

What Are The New Treatments Available of
Lung Cancer?

There are many advances in the treatment of Lung Cancer. Firstly, there are many new methods available now to make a quick and early diagnosis. In early cases, Key-hole surgery i.e. VATS and Robotic Surgery offers a patient friendly way of doing the same surgery with excellent outcomes. There are new developments in the fields of radiations also. Additionally, when patients require chemotherapy there is now a "targeted therapy" approach used based on the molecular analysis of the tumour specimen. This molecular analysis based approach allows us to "tailer make" the treatment for the specific patient rather than giving same molecule to everyone. There is now a renewed interest in the "immuno-therapy" which is the new kid on the block with lot of promises. A lot of work is presently going on in this field. Lastly, Exercise and Yoga are also helpful in enhancing the quality of life of these patients suffering from Lung Cancer.

What is Lung Cancer?

What Causes Lung Cancer?

Symptoms of Lung Cancer

 

Lung Cancer Diagnosis

Lung Cancer Treatment

Lung Cancer Patients Care Team

Lung Cancer program

 

What is Lung Cancer

 

Causes of Lung Cancer

   

The lungs are two large organs made of spongy tissue, which lie inside the chest under the rib cage. When we breathe in, the lungs absorb oxygen and deliver it to the bloodstream.
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In most people, lung cancer is related to cigarette smoking. Smoking causes nearly 9 out of 10 cases (86%). A further 3% of cases of lung cancer are caused by exposure to second hand
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In most people, lung cancer is related to cigarette smoking. Smoking causes nearly 9 out of 10 cases (86%). A further 3% of cases of lung cancer are caused by exposure to second hand
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Lung Cancer - Diagnosis

 

Lung Cancer Treatment -India

 

Lung Cancer Patients Care Team

   

We aim to provide innovative lung cancer treatments with latest technologies-all under one roof. We use state-of-the-art diagnostic tools, including advanced imaging and laboratory tests
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A number of factors are looked at that help decide the most tailor made approach to your treatment. These include
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NHS guidelines state that everyone diagnosed with lung cancer should be under the care of a multi disciplinary team (MDT). This is a team of health professionals who work together
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