Having an awareness of the early symptoms of lung cancer increases the chance that it will be found at an earlier, more curable stage. Examples of early symptoms may be a cough that lingers after a cold, or subtle changes in breathing that you dismiss as a symptom of age or needing more exercise. What were your earliest symptoms of lung cancer? Please share your story or that of your loved one, so others can be alert to these early symptoms as well. Share Your Story
Early symptoms ignored by Doctors
- Diagnosed with small cell carcinoma after being treated by two doctors for two years for Bronchitis due to allergies to dust mites. No Xrays taken, until I asked for one. Yes, after two years the Xray showed a mass in my left lung. A PET scan showed a new nodule in my right lung. Started my first round of strong Chemo and will start my second round shortly. No fun!! I was diagnosed December 26th, 2012. No surgery, just Chemo and then, perhaps Radiation. Prognosis could be less than a year! All because two doctors did not catch the first nodule! If you are still in doubt about your lungs or health, pursue another avenue!!
Pain in right lung and shoulder
- I kept having pain in my right lung sometimes so bad I had to lay down to get it to stop, short winded especially when walking & pain in my right shoulder. I never even thought of lung cancer & if it hadn't been for a chest xray I would have never found it early. I was diagnoised on Sept. 26th, 2012 had 3 rounds of chemo & 6 1/2 wks of radiation. The Dr. says I'm in remission but i'm bot so sure because I still have the pain in my right shoulder, coughing up dark green & bloody phlegm & now very horase. I have made appt. with a new Dr. because the one I have won't listen to me. I will start radiation on my brain March 4th as a preventive due to this small cell carcinoma usually going to the brain. I will pray for all on this board because prayer is the best cure. Editor's note: I am glad you are being an advocate for yourself and looking for a doctor who will listen to you. I will keep you in my prayers as well.
What is clubbing of the fingernails?
I am in remission from small cell carcinoma so the Dr. said but I am having pain in my right shoulder & now hoarse to. I dropped my Dr. & have appt. with another Dr. the 13th of March & sincerely hope he turns our better. Editor's note: I hope it turns out better for you also. Clubbing is a build up of tissue in the fingers which causes the ends of the fingers to become enlarged and "club like" or like an upside-down spoon. It often occurs in people with heart or lung conditions that result in a decreased oxygen level in the blood, although it is sometimes seen as an inherited trait in healthy people.
Shoulder pain, Wheezing, Winded
- The 1st signs of lung cancer I had but didn't know it was cancer was pain in my right shoulder, wheezing, short winded when walking. I called an ambulance one day due to breathing problems that I thought had to do with my heart because I have heart problems. The ambulaance driver refused to take me to the hospital so my hubby did. They found I was in kidney failure. They also took a routine chest xray & found a couple of spots on my right lung. The Dr. told me to get my primary Dr. to do a ct scan on my right lung. He did then called me and said he was sorry then referred me to a pulmonary Dr. He ordered a biopsy & thats when I found out I had small cell lung cancer.
- Hi I have not been diagnosed with cancer but have an appointment this week and going to ask for a chest X-ray. I am only 26 but I smoke and have had pain in lower ribs and upper back. Also just started getting pains in upper left chest and arm and back when I breathe in heavily. I have seen doctor about my back pain a couple times in the last few months but been dismissed as muscular. I cough up a lot of phlegm too. I am very worried but suffer from anxiety and panic disorder as well so don't know if this could be causing my symptoms :/ Editor's note: There are a multitude of things that could be responsible for your symptoms. What's clear though is that you need your doctors to address all of your symptoms carefully and not fail to address them. Muscular problems don't cause people to cough up phlegm. Lung cancer is uncommon at age 26 and is unlikely to be the cause -- BUT, young people can get lung cancer.
- —Guest Amz
my mother's story
- My mother smoked for many years, but quit sometime in her 50's. In her 70's she developed a slight wheeze, and was given inhailers. As the wheeze got worse, the inhailers increased, she was using 3 a day for about 15 years, diagnosed with COPD. When she was 87, she started complaining of shoulder pain. She was given injections, and PT but she said nothing was helping the pain. This went on for 4 years, and she developed a very large lump on her right shoulder (the one that was painful).
She was a veteran of WWII, and discovered that she could go to the VA. THe doctor there actually listened to her, and decided to get an x-ray of that shoulder. (by this time she was in agonizing pain). They found a suspicious shadow, and further imagining revealed a tumor in her lungs.
If she would not have been ignored as just an old lady, they would have found the tumor earlier, and she may have not have had to live in so much pain for so long. She passed away 2 months after the diagnosis.
- —Guest mary
Is it or is it not
- I am a 43 year old mother and wife. I smoked from the age of 10 (yes you read that correctly) until the age of 28. I quit for 6 years then started up again when I was 34. I got up to 2 packs a day. Smoked for 6 more years then quit February 15, 2009 at age of 40. It has been three years. 6 months ago I started experiencing shortness of breath so severe that just sitting down resting at times I was gasping. My Dr said it was my inactivity etc. it began affecting my work - I am a licensed massage therapist and have a very physically demanding job. I invested in an 02 stat finger monitor and my oxygen levels would dip down to mid 80's. Again it was passed off as nothing. 1 mOnth ago I had coughed two blood clots. I had chest X-ray d-dimer test TB test larynscopy a tube up my nose down throat - all inconclusive. Dr said it was a fluke except I was still spitting blood tinged saliva. Had CT Scan two weeks ago that showed a 9mm non calcified nodule upper right lobe. Awaiting appt with Pulm D Editor's note: Thank you for sharing your story. I'm sure others will find comfort that they are not alone in how long and frustrating the process can be of discovering whether or not something of concern is lung cancer or not. Wishing you the best.
- —Guest Mary
- I dont have lung cancer that I know of but I smoke. Thanks for all your input. It was very helpful. Congrats to all who stood up to the face of death. Thanks again.
- —Guest James
- i dont have medical, but a doctor is helping me anyways, but he can only do so much, my wife is from england and because of immigration law i cant get any help,and my job doesnt offer health care and i dont earn enough to afford it. im afraid if this turns bad i just cant leave my sweetheart in debt, my only option is to spend my time being a good husband and daddy, a gracious anonymous man wrote a check for a new drug called crizotinib,which im taking, it has shrunk the tumor in the back of my knee but has had no effect yet on my lung,...i cant stop working since we live paycheck to paycheck, im at a loss...sad depressed and scared, should i just count my blessings and spend time with my family, and let it take me, or is there help out there?? is it hopeless?? it sure feels that way. any ideas are welcome. Editor's note: For starters, here is an article on financial help for cancer patients that discusses options that are not government based at the beginning. Blessings to you as you cope with both cancer and the difficulty of the financial loss at the same time. http://cancer.about.com/od/treatmentoptions/a/cancerfinancial.htm
- —Guest craig
- I. Had flu shot then dr suggested pneumonia shot as well due to my aboriginal origin. Two weeks later felt terrible and went to outpatients at hospital where dr done exray then suggested MRI all in one day then was told had a large tumour 11cm x 8cm on left lung area couldn't be operated due to on the adores returned home to specialist and have now had 30 radiations over 15 days as well as chemo and am now into my last cycle of chemo. Have been told scan shows tumor has shrunk right up and have been advised to have radiation to the brain as a precaution and am in process of considering this at the moment. Prior to all this treatment I was told I had approx. Three to six months to live so this shows treatment should be considered
- —Guest Garry miller
Not a smoker but horrible headaches
- my mother was recently diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. She has never smoked and is not a drinker. She missed her menstruation and ever since, her eyesight was changing, and she was getting headaches repeatedly. She never had shortness of breath or anything like that...its horrible.
Not for sure, pretty sure anyway
- I looked probably because I got a cold. I got really sick, then diagnosed with a sinus infection, which then led to bronchitis. This has been almost a month. I thought maybe something is wrong. I looked at the symptoms, and since I have every single one of them except shortness of breath, coupled with the fact my Dad died of this disease, I guess denial is no longer an option. I'll let you know, calling the Dr tomorrow, wow. Editor's note: It takes courage to take the step you are taking to find out if your symptoms are something serious such as lung cancer. We wish you the best.
- my mom Jennie 48. just past away suddenly in the summer of lung cancer and she said she felt like someone was stabbing her in the back with a knife,and her "lungs were on fire".so if anyone tells you that,please go in see you re doctor..
- —Guest jade
Foot problems, fever, fingernail changes
- A good friend went to the family practitioner due to foot problems. Thought it was gout. Then after several months started having a cough/fever. By this time his nails were cupping badly.Thought it was pneumonia and so did doctor. Gave two diff. types of antibiotics w/no help. Finally went to the ER and the doctor gave a chest x-ray. Confirmed a large tumor in left lung. Why are the gp docs so hesitant to give a chest x-ray. Anyone coming in w/these symtoms should be given a simple chest x-ray. Almost a year past before he was finally disgnosed with cancer and it is now stage IV. If a person even thinks he may have a lung condition of any kind they should get a chest x-ray to rule out tumors, etc.
- —Guest Sierra guy
Blood Streaked Phlegm
- Early symptoms of lung cancer for me was excessive coughing, laryngitis which was thought to be allergies since 2008. Then in 2012 I started coughing phylem with streaks of blood. Went to family doctor who thought I might have bronchitis but decided to do a lung ex-ray to rule out cancer since I was a smoker. I thank God he gave me such a wonderful doctor to catch the cancer at stage 2. I had surgery to remove my lower right lung. Surgery was a sucess and lymph nodes were ok , but because of the size of the mass 7.7 I will start chemo on Aug 7, 2012. I thank God each day for his grace and mercy and the people who prayed for me. Prayer is the most powerful medicine and/or weapon there is in the world.
- —Guest Lynn Kaluhiokalani