Lung Cancer

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In Diagnosing Lung Cancer, The Symptoms Often Come Late

Dr. Joseph Friedberg University of Maryland School of Medicine

The absence of symptoms is admittedly a terrifying aspect of lung cancer. Indeed, lung cancer often produces no symptoms until it has started to spread outside of the lungs. The first symptom may be a seizure if the lung cancer has spread to the brain. Your doctor may suspect lung cancer after seeing a shadow on a routine chest X-ray that requires further evaluation.

Once a lung cancer diagnosis is confirmed, it is important to see if it has spread. Your doctor will ask questions about breathing changes, shortness of breath, coughing, pain and/or unexplained weight loss to get a better picture of what is happening inside your body. Some other symptoms can include pain in the chest, shoulder or back that is unrelated to pain from coughing; a change in color or volume of sputum; changes in the voice or being hoarse; and harsh sounds with each breath.


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Dr. Joseph Friedberg serves as a medical advisor to SurvivorNet. He is the Charles Reid Edwards Professor of Surgery and head of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Read More