5 Early Signs of Lung Cancer

Most lung cancers do not cause symptoms until they have spread, but some people with early lung cancer do have symptoms. If you go to your doctor when you first notice symptoms, your cancer might be diagnosed at an earlier stage, when treatment is more likely to be effective.

Most of these symptoms are more likely caused by something other than lung cancer. Still, if you have any of these problems, you must see your doctor immediately so the cause can be found and treated if needed.

Here are five early signs of lung cancer to watch out for:

1. Excessive Phlegm

One early sign of lung cancer is excessive phlegm. This is usually accompanied by a cough that doesn't go away. The phlegm may be clear, white, yellow, or green. It may also be blood-tinged. If you're producing much more phlegm than usual, it's worth seeing a doctor check out.

2. Persistent Coughing

If you find yourself coughing non-stop, it's another indication that something may be wrong. While a cough can be a sign of many different illnesses, if you notice any blood in your phlegm, this is a cause for concern. 

3. Shortness of Breath and Chest Pain

When you have lung cancer, you may experience chest pain that worsens with coughing or deep breathing. This happens because the tumor is pressing on nerves or blood vessels in your chest. You may also feel shortness of breath because the tumor is blocking your airway. You must see a doctor immediately if you experience either of these symptoms.

4. Hoarseness

Hoarseness is one of the most common early signs of lung cancer. It's also one of the most ignored. Many people think hoarseness is just a sign of a cold or allergies, but it can actually be a sign of something much more serious. If you experience hoarseness that lasts more than two weeks, it's time to take action.

5. Irregular Heartbeat/New Heart Murmur

If you find your heart racing after minimal activity or experiencing new heart murmurs, these can be early signs of something going on. This can be caused by the tumor pressing on the nearby arteries or veins, which disrupts blood flow and causes the heart to work harder to pump blood. This can lead to fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain.

Lung Cancer Screening

 We proudly offer a comprehensive lung cancer screening program that provides low-dose lung CT screening to current and former smokers at high risk of developing lung cancer. NY Imaging centers are located across Long Island, with additional imaging sites within many of our medical oncology facilities.

Through this program, we provide low-dose CT screening for patients who:

• Are between the ages of 50 and 80
• Currently smoke or quit smoking within the past 15 years
• Have a 20-pack-year smoking history (for example, one pack a day for 20 years)


Speak with your doctor for more information.


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