Lung cancer symptoms vary from person to person. Some people with lung cancer don't have any symptoms. Often, symptoms are easily confused with common respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis or pneumonia, delaying an accurate diagnosis.
The most common symptoms of lung cancer include:
- Cough that does not go away and gets worse over time
- Chest pain that is constant and often made worse by deep breathing, coughing or laughing
- Arm or shoulder pain
- Coughing up blood or rust-colored phlegm
- Shortness of breath
- Infections like pneumonia or bronchitis that do not go away or come back often
- Swelling of the neck and face
- Loss of appetite and/or weight loss
- Feeling weak or tired
- Widening of the fingertips and nailbed also known as “clubbing"
If lung cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it may cause:
- Bone pain
- Arm or leg weakness or numbness
- Headache, dizziness or seizure
- Balance problems or an unsteady gait
- Jaundice (yellow coloring) of skin and eyes
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck or shoulder
These symptoms do not always mean you have lung cancer. However, it is important to discuss any lung cancer symptoms with your doctor, since they may also signal other health problems.
In rare cases, lung cancer can be passed down from one generation to the next. Genetic counseling may be right for you. Visit our genetic testing page to learn more.
Some people have an elevated risk of developing lung cancer. Review the lung cancer screening guidelines to see if you need to be tested.
Behavioral and lifestyle changes can help prevent lung cancer. Visit our prevention and screening section to learn how to manage your risk.
In some cases, lung cancer can be passed down from one generation to the next. Genetic counseling may be right for you. Visit our family history site to learn more about genetic counseling and testing.
Cancer screening exams can detect cancer early, when the chances for successfully treating disease are greatest.
MD Anderson offers lung cancer screenings at the following locations:
- MD Anderson in Sugar Land
- MD Anderson West Houston
- MD Anderson The Woodlands
- Texas Medical Center
MD Anderson patients have access to clinical trials
offering promising new treatments that cannot be found anywhere else.