Donate

Lung cancer signs and symptoms

Anyone can develop lung cancer. Men and women, young and old, smokers and non-smokers. If you have lungs, you can get the disease so it is very important everyone is aware of lung cancer signs and symptoms.

Lung cancer signs and symptoms - woman coughing
A persistent cough is one of many symptoms of lung cancer

With around 46,000 lung cancer cases each year, it is the most common cause of cancer death for both men and women, so it’s vital that everyone knows what the symptoms of lung cancer. An early lung cancer diagnosis can make a big difference.

What are the symptoms of lung cancer?

There are many different symptoms of lung cancer. Some symptoms, such as a persistent cough, are more common and widely recognised than others like clubbed fingers.

  • Persistent cough that lasts three weeks or more
  • Breathlessness
  • Repeat chest infections
  • Chest and/or shoulder pain
  • Loss of appetite and/or unexplained weight loss
  • Change in a long term cough, or a cough that gets worse
  • Coughing up blood
  • Unexplained fatigue or lack of energy
  • Hoarseness
  • Finger clubbing
  • Blood clots.
Lung cancer signs and symptoms - symptoms man

Symptoms tracker

We have no sense of pain inside our lungs, so it can be difficult to spot changes until they affect our breathing or start to affect other parts of our chest or body.

Our free Lung cancer signs and symptoms tracker can help highlight the severity and frequency of your symptoms and help your doctor understand what to do next.

Lung cancer signs and symptoms
Our free symptoms tracker can help you keep track of your lung health

If you have any symptoms, visit your doctor. Chances are it is nothing serious, but it is always worth getting yourself checked. You are not wasting anyone’s time.

The biggest piece of advice I could give to someone who is experiencing symptoms is persevere. You know your body better than anybody and if you feel that something is not right then push. Keep pushing until you get answers. If you feel you’re being a nuisance to your GP, so what! Be a nuisance. Be the biggest nuisance you can be but just persevere.

Nicky, Living with lung cancer

What happens next?

  1. Discuss your symptoms with your doctor. You can explain your symptoms thoroughly by using our free symptoms tracker.
  2. Your doctor will examine you.
  3. Your doctor may arrange for you to have a chest x-ray and will then talk your through your results.
  4. If you need more tests, your doctor should make an appointment for you to see a lung specialist. If you are diagnosed with lung cancer, you will be referred on to a lung cancer team for treatment and care.
  5. If your doctor does not send you for an x-ray, or your x-ray is clear, but your symptoms continue or get worse, ask to see your doctor again.

You should never feel like you can’t go to your doctor if you are concerned about your health. We know, from speaking to people with lung cancer, that anyone can get this disease. Young and old, men and women, smoker and non-smoker – if you have lungs, you can get lung cancer.

Explain to your doctor how anxious you are and don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion if you feel your concerns are not being addressed.