Lung cancer can be a silent killer. Your body gives few warnings that a cancer may be growing in your lungs. Lung cancer often causes no pain or any other visible signs. It can grow without notice until it spreads to other parts of the body. Lung cancer is most often diagnosed only after it has metastasized to other places, like the liver, the brain, or the bones. That is when lung cancer becomes evident, painful and makes its victims noticeably sick.
Perhaps the biggest warning sign of lung cancer is your risk factors. Did you smoke cigarettes? Were you exposed to asbestos, radon, diesel exhaust or other carcinogens? Do you have a family history of lung cancer? These might be the only warnings you get before a lung cancer strikes.
Some lung cancers, however, do give warning signs. Symptoms can include: pain in the chest in the chest or back, shortness of breath, cough, recurrent bronchitis, coughing up blood or unexplained weight loss. These can all be symptoms that a cancer is growing in your lungs.
Another important, and often overlooked, finding can be a diagnosis of lung or pulmonary nodules. Benign, or non-cancerous, lung nodules are an important warning sign that lung cancer may follow. These are often found by a routine chest x-ray or a CT scan. Almost half of lung nodules found in this way eventually turn into lung cancer. The good news is when lung nodules are caught early, when they are still very small, cure rates are much higher than when larger nodules are detected.
Lung cancer screening is the key to finding these nodules, watching them, and treating them promptly should they become cancerous. If you are at risk for lung cancer due to smoking, your age or prior exposure to asbestos, call your doctor today to discuss lung cancer screening. If you were a railroad worker and suspect you may have lung cancer, contact us today for a free consultation.