Lung cancer is one of the top killers in developed and of late developing countries. More than a million deaths are reported worldwide. Smoking still remains the number one risk factor for lung cancer. Other risk factors include passive or second-hand smoke, Asbestos exposure, Radon exposure, and genetic mutations. Lung cancer remains one of the most preventive cancers and yet many people are falling prey to this deadly cancer.
Early diagnosis still remains the mainstay in helping people with lung cancer have a longer life expectancy. There are some unusual symptoms of lung cancer that you should be aware of to help in an early diagnosis.
1. Shoulder or upper back pain: Shoulder or upper back pain is an often unnoticed symptom of lung cancer caused by the tumour pressing on the lining of the lungs.
2. Swelling of the face and neck: The venous drainage of the upper part of the body is Superior Venacava. Pressure from the tumour can lead to impaired venous and lymphatic drainage leading to swelling of the face and neck.
3. Frequent pneumonia and other lung infections: The tumour cells can trap bacteria and this results in frequent lung infections and pneumonia.
4. Male breast development: Gynacomastia is the name for development of breasts in men. Breast growth is due to the presence of Oestrogen and some lung cancers can produce amounts of Oestrogen that stimulate breast development.
5. Hoarseness of voice: The tumour can press upon important organs like the voice box or nerves involved in speech and this results in hoarseness of voice.
If you know someone who has developed these symptoms then there is a possibility that they have lung cancer and it needs to be checked by a doctor.
By Raj Iyer