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Early signs of lung cancer (affects nonsmokers, too)

By Lee Euler / June 25, 2017

If you don’t catch it early, this cancer will wipe you out 96 percent of the time.1 Few survive.

What is this lethal cancer? And how can you detect it before it’s too late?

Keep reading to find out…

Continued below…

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Lung cancer kills more than 1.3 million people every year.2

Even though it’s one of the most preventable cancers, it is also one of the most lethal because it spreads fast.3 The key to defeating it is healthy lifestyle habits so you never get it in the first place, and diagnosing it early if you do get it.

And, yes, non-smokers can and do get lung cancer.

There’s more than one type of lung cancer

There are two main types of lung cancer: non-small cell and small cell.

Non-small cell lung cancer

This is the most common type of lung cancer (80 to 85 percent of all cases). It grows and spreads more slowly than other types of lung cancer. Tumors usually start in the lining of your lungs (called adenocarcinoma) or in the thin, flat cells along your respiratory tract (called squamous cell carcinoma).

Small cell lung cancer

These cancer cells are – surprise! – small and round. They quickly metastasize to other parts of your body.5 This type is less common (15 to 20 percent of all cases). Typically, by the time you’re diagnosed with small cell lung cancer, chances are nine out of ten it’s already spread to your lymph nodes or other organs.6

It’s also possible to have both types of lung cancer at the same time.7

So what causes lung cancer, anyway?

Without question, cigarette smoking is your No. 1 enemy.

It’s responsible for 80 to 90 percent of lung cancer cases. If you smoke, you are 15 to 30 times as likely to get lung cancer as your friends who don’t smoke.8

And it’s no wonder.

Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals. At least 70 of them are known to cause cancer. Smoking cigars and pipes can also increase your risk.

Yet about 7,300 people who never smoked die from lung cancer every year. Why?9

  • Secondhand smoke. Tell guests they can smoke outside, but not in your home. Avoid restaurants and bars that allow smoking. It’s also come to be seen as rude in our society, so smokers need to take the butts outdoors, period.
  • Radon. This naturally occurring (but dangerous) gas can get trapped in houses and buildings. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, radon causes about 20,000 cases of lung cancer every year. The gas is invisible and odorless, so you could live with it for years or decades and never realize it. Considering this, it’s well worth the money to have your home tested for radon, and remediate it if necessary. Take action before it’s too late.
  • Radiation. Raises your risk of lung cancer. Avoid it as much as possible. Unnecessary X-rays, for example.
  • Water. Arsenic in drinking water (common in private wells) also increases your risk of lung cancer. Filtering your water can largely get rid of this problem.

Fortunately, these are all avoidable causes. Although it’s hard to quit smoking, you’ll thank yourself later for struggling through it.

Do you have any of these warning signs?

Nine common early warning signs of lung cancer are:

  1. Persistent cough – could be dry (as with allergies) or wet (as with a cold or the flu)
  2. Coughing up blood or rust-colored mucus – tumors have a rich blood supply, which can leak into your airways, saliva, and mucus10
  3. Chest pain – may worsen when you breathe, cough, or laugh
  4. Hoarseness or wheezing
  5. Unexplained weight loss
  6. Loss of appetite – little interest in food, forgetting to eat, feeling full quickly, feeling nauseated when you eat too much or too fast11
  7. Difficulty breathing
  8. Fatigue and weakness – you can’t ‘snap out of it’ with a cup of coffee12
  9. Long-term chest or respiratory infections (like pneumonia or bronchitis)13 – cancer makes you more susceptible to illness and infection14

Pay special attention to signs of depression: fatigue, lethargy, low spirits, and racing or panicky thoughts. Oddly enough, many cancer patients – especially those with lung cancer – discover their illness after seeing a psychiatrist.

One study found that when people 50 to 64 years old saw a psychiatrist for the first time, their likelihood of having cancer quadrupled.15 I don’t mean the therapy caused the cancer, I mean cancer is a common cause of depression.

Painful thickening in your fingertips could also signify lung cancer. Lung tumors release cytokines and other chemicals that initiate bone growth under your fingernails. You might notice swollen, red, or warm fingertips, or clumsy fine motor skills.16

If the tumor is near your superior vena cava, the large vein carrying blood from your head and arms to your heart, you could experience swelling in your face, neck, arms, or upper chest.17

Men should also beware of breast growth.18

Once the cancer spreads to other organs, symptoms usually intensify to include the following:19

  • Bone pain (especially back and hip pain)
  • Headaches, weakness, numbness, dizziness, balance problems, or seizures – if the cancer spreads to the brain and spinal cord
  • Jaundice, if it spreads to your liver
  • Lumps under your skin, if it spreads to your lymph nodes

What about the shoulder pain thing?

Shoulder pain can be a rare first symptom of mesothelioma (a type of lung cancer linked to asbestos).20

In a study of 49 patients, 14.3 percent experienced shoulder pain as their first symptom. On a scale of one to ten, the pain ranged from a four to a ten (intense radiating nerve pain).21

Most shoulder pain caused by lung cancer is referred pain, meaning it begins in one area but you feel it in another.22

Before you start fretting, realize that most shoulder pain is from strained shoulder muscles, a strained neck, herniated disks, arthritis, or poor posture.23

So try improving your posture and resting your shoulder, applying ice for 20 minutes at a time, compressing it with a bandage, and elevating it to reduce swelling.24 Especially if none of the other symptoms named above are also present.

If it’s still painful after a week or two – time enough for sore muscles to start feeling better – head to the doctor.

And if you experience multiple symptoms from the lists above, you’ll want to make an appointment to get checked out as soon as possible.

Best regards,

Lee Euler,
Publisher

References:
1 Haiken, Melanie. “10 Early Warning Signs of Lung Cancer.” Victory Over Cancer. 2015 December.
2,5,7,9,11,12,15,16,18,19,21,23,24  Ibid.
3 Jyoti Malhotra, Matteo Malvezzi, Eva Negri, Carlo La Vecchia, Paolo Boffetta. “Risk factors for lung cancer worldwide.” European Respiratory Journal 2016; DOI: 10.1183/13993003.00359-2016
4 “Types of Lung Cancer.” Lung Cancer Alliance
6 Nall, Rachel RN BSN CCRN. “Small cell vs. non-small cell lung cancer: What are the differences?” Medical News Today. 2017 March.
8 “What are the Risk Factors for Lung Cancer?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2017 April.
10 Haiken, Melanie. “10 Early Warning Signs of Lung Cancer.”
13 “Signs and Symptoms of Lung Cancer.” American Cancer Society. 2016 February.
14 Haiken, Melanie. “10 Early Warning Signs of Lung Cancer.”
17 “Signs and Symptoms of Lung Cancer.” American Cancer Society.
20 Lorkowski J, Grzegorowska O, Kotela A, Weryński W, Kotela I. “Shoulder ring complaints as a rare first symptom of malignant pleural mesothelioma.” Adv Exp Med Biol. 2015;852:5-10. doi: 10.1007/5584_2015_113.
22 Villines, Zawn. “Lung cancer and shoulder pain: What’s the connection?” Medical News Today. 2017 March.
About the author

Lee Euler

Hi I'm Lee Euler, I’ve spent over a decade investigating every possible way a person can beat cancer. In fact, our commitment to defeating cancer has made us the world’s #1 publisher of information about Alternative Cancer Treatments -- with over 20 books and 700 newsletters on the subject. If you haven't heard about all your cancer options, or if you want to make sure you don’t miss even one answer to this terrible disease, then join our newsletter. When you do, I'll keep you informed each week about the hundreds of alternative cancer treatments that people are using to cure cancer all over the world.

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