Overview of signs & symptoms- Lung Cancer

Overview of signs & symptoms- Lung Cancer

Zain Syed
Zain Syed

The ABCs of Lung Cancer: Overview of signs & Symptoms

The symptoms of lunch cancer closely mimic other common illnesses such as a cold. It is very important to get screened early, especially if you have risk factors. The most common cause of lung cancer is smoking. Other common causes can include exposure to secondhand smoke, asbestos, family history, other lung diseases, and a history of infections such as tuberculosis.

Symptoms of lung cancer include

  • Persistent cough
  • Trouble breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing up blood.
  • Feeling very tired all the time.
  • Weight loss with no known cause.


When should you get screened

  • 50 years of age or older
  • Smoking 20 or more pack years


What is a pack year?

Take the number of packs smoked a day multiplied by the number of years smoked.

Example: 2 packs a day x 20 years = 40 pack years


Why is screening important?

Lung cancer is the third most common type of cancer but the number one cause of cancer-related deaths. The 5-year survival rate decreases by almost half if cancer spreads further than the lungs.


5-Year Relative Survival 
Localized 61.2%
Regional 33.5%
Distant 7.0%
Unknown 9.9%
  • Localized cancer is limited to the primary site
  • Regional is cancer that has spread to the surrounding lymph nodes
  • Distant is cancer that has metastasized


The average 5-year survival rate for people with lung cancer is 22.9%. Most (55%) of it is diagnosed once it has metastasized. Death rates have decreased due to earlier screening and better treatment options.

Early screening is very important. If you or a loved one falls within the risk factors, reach out to your doctor and discuss being screened for lung cancer.


Zain Syed
Zain Syed
I am a Pharmacist specializing in oncology and pain management. I have worked in various settings, including Infusion, Clinic, Inpatient, Outpatient, and Investigational Drug Services. The lack of access, financial struggles, and people falling through the cracks leads to worse outcomes and increased costs. I chose healthcare to help people and want to help at scale, my mission and passion, not just one person at a time. Cancer can be a lonely journey, but it does not have to be. I look forward to building a community that educates and supports each other through difficult times.

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