Being Symptom-Free Doesn’t Necessarily Mean You’re Safe from Lung CancerOne of the many reasons lung cancer poses such a deadly threat is that it often is not detected until it is well entrenched in the body. In addition, symptoms for lung and bronchus cancer usually don’t appear until the cancer is in its advanced stages. It is estimated that 1 out of 4 lung cancer patients experienced no symptoms whatsoever at the time of diagnosis.
Exacerbating the problem is that even when symptoms are present, those symptoms often go unheeded. According to the American Cancer Society, it isn’t uncommon for lung cancer symptoms to be mistaken for symptoms of other bodily problems, such as asthma, bronchitis or simply the effects of being a lifetime smoker.
Lung cancer metastasizes (spreads) relatively quickly. The spread of the cancer is primarily to the liver, bones, brain and adrenal glands. If the cancer has spread to the liver or adrenal glands, normally the metastasized cancer in those areas of the body won’t show many symptoms, either. However, if the lung cancer spreads to the brain, some symptoms may become apparent, such as vision problems. Should the cancer spread to the bones, noticeable pain in the spine, legs or ribs can result as symptoms.
One possibility for early detection based on symptoms can be found from paraneoplastic syndromes. These occur when symptoms begin to appear in parts of the body which have not yet had any connection to the lung cancer. Sometimes, these symptoms can be experienced when the lung cancer is still in its earliest stages, when treatment is most successful. Some of these syndromes are listed below:
• Hypercalcemia (high blood calcium levels)
• Hypertrophic osteoarthropathy (excess bone growth, often in fingertips)
• Blood clots
• Gynecomastia (breast growth in males)
• Low blood levels of sodium
• Cerebellar degeneration (loss of balance, unsteadiness of arms and legs)
Early detection from various screening methods hasn’t yet translated into reduced numbers of mortalities. Despite this, noticing symptoms of lung cancer can be paramount, even if it means the cancer is already advanced.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with lung and bronchus cancer and feel the disease could’ve been detected sooner, please request a copy of our free book, I Have Cancer… Should It Have Been Caught Earlier?, and contact an experienced Atlanta medical malpractice and lung cancer lawyer at the Dover Law Firm at 770-518-1133 for more information.