Lung cancer symptoms: The sign in your fingers that could signal the disease

Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in one or both lungs. The treatment depends on what type a person has as well as their general health. The main symptoms are a cough, breathlessness and weight loss. The cancer may also reveal itself in a person’s fingers.

People may experience changes in the appearance of their fingers, such as becoming more curved or their ends becoming larger (this is known as finger clubbing).

A person may also experience inflammation and pain in the fingers, notes Cancer Research UK.

According to the charity, the symptoms are associated with hypertrophic pulmonary osteoarthropathy – a condition that affects some people with lung cancer.

As the health site explained, it can be caused by substances released by the tumour.

It can also be caused by substances the body makes when reacting to the tumour.

Changes in the appearance of a person’s fingers is a less common symptom of lung cancer.

As the NHS explained, other less common symptoms include:

  • Changes in the appearance of your fingers, such as becoming more curved or their ends becoming larger (this is known as finger clubbing)
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) or pain when swallowing
  • Wheezing
  • A hoarse voice
  • Swelling of a person’s face or neck
  • Persistent chest or shoulder pain

The main symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • A cough that doesn’t go away after two or three weeks
  • A long-standing cough that gets worse
  • Chest infections that keep coming back
  • Coughing up blood
  • An ache or pain when breathing or coughing
  • Persistent breathlessness
  • Persistent tiredness or lack of energy
  • Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss
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Find out more about the coughing warning signs to watch out for.

“If you have any of these, you should see a GP,” advised the NHS.

Lung cancer risk factors

Lung cancer risk is strongly tied to lifestyle and environmental factors.

According to Cancer Research UK, smoking tobacco is the biggest cause of lung cancer in the UK.

Around seven out of ten lung cancers are caused by smoking.

This includes breathing in other people’s cigarette smoke.

Exposure to certain substances can also heighten a person’s risk of developing lung cancer, notes the charity. These include asbestos, silica, and diesel exhaust.

Other risk factors include:

  • Chemicals and workplace risks
  • Air pollution
  • Previous lung disease
  • Exposure to radon gas
  • Family history of lung cancer
  • Previous radiotherapy treatment


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