You may not notice signs of lung cancer in its early stages. In fact, many lung cancers do not cause symptoms until they have already spread. Some are found through a chest X-ray or CT scan taken for other reasons.
When early lung cancer does cause symptoms, they’re often health problems you’d have anyway if you smoke. For example, some early signs of lung cancer include shortness of breath and the inability to exercise without feeling out of breath or coughing.
A tumor may be present for some time before any symptoms are noticed. These are some of the common symptoms of lung cancer, though each can be found in many other disease states, so they do not always mean cancer is present. Call your doctor if you notice any of the following:
Cough that doesn’t go away and gets worse over time
Chest pain that is constant
Appetite loss or unexpected weight loss
Coughing up blood or rust-colored mucus
Breathing problems, such as a sudden shortness of breath or wheezing
Pneumonia or bronchitis occurring more than usual for you
Yellowing of skin and eyes (jaundice)
Headache, seizures, or confusion
Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck
Remember: These symptoms may be caused by lung cancer or by other, less serious conditions. It is important to check with a doctor to be sure.