The survival rate among those who suffer from lung cancer (LC) drops sharply as the disease progresses. If the condition is diagnosed while it is still in Stage I, and treatment begins immediately, the five-year survival rate climbs above 75%. On the other hand, if the illness reaches Stage IV, there is only a 10% probability of survival. This is the reason doctors recommend learning how to identify the symptoms of the disease. The more quickly you do so, the greater the chances the cancerous cells can be eliminated.

It is estimated that nearly 15% of those who develop lung cancer have never smoked. For that reason, it is just as important for non-smokers as it is for smoker to learn to recognize the early warning signs. Below, we’ll provide a brief, but thorough, list of the most common symptoms of lung cancer.

A Persistent Cough

One of the earliest symptoms to emerge is a cough that refuses to go away. Unfortunately, a lot of people who suffer from LC attribute their cough to other factors (e.g. a cold, asthma, or allergies). Even in cases when patients cough up bloody sputum, the amount of blood is slight and fails to raise an alarm. If you develop a cough that lasts longer than two or three weeks, call your doctor.

Difficulty Breathing

Breathing troubles can manifest after strenuous activity in early stages of the disease. Similar to a persistent cough, shortness of breath is often blamed on other factors, including excess weight, old age, and even dry weather. If you notice yourself becoming winded too quickly, make an appointment with your physician.

Recurring Pain Throughout Your Upper Body

Half of patients who suffer LC develop chronic pain throughout their chest and back. This is often due to tumors that place pressure on nerves that are related to those areas. In some cases, the pain emerges before coughing and breathing difficulties. In other cases, it manifests much later. If you feel recurring pain in any area of your upper body that does not correspond to a pulled muscle or similar injury, call your doctor.

Stubborn Infections And Other Health Issues

Your health can take a downward turn as lung cancer advances. If tumors are located near your air passageways, they can form a blockage that prevents air from flowing through properly. That raises your vulnerability to bronchitis and pneumonia. Moreover, you might notice increased susceptibility to persistent joint pain. The pain may seem unrelated based on its location (e.g. the knees), but may be connected to the disease.

Lung cancer represents nearly 30% of cancer-related deaths. The disease kills over 150,000 people each year – many of them, non-smokers. Learn to detect the warning signs as early as possible. Once the cancerous cells metastasize to other areas, treating it effectively becomes far more difficult. Consult your physician if you notice any of the warning signs described above. Doing so will improve your chances of survival if you have the disease.

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