Lung Cancer Symptoms | Coughing Up Blood or Phlegm
Smoking is the number one risk factor for lung cancer. In fact, smokers and ex-smokers can be as much as 45 times more likely to develop lung cancer in the next 5 years than someone their age who has never smoked.
According to our Lung Cancer Risk Assessment, which is based upon a published risk model by M.D. Anderson researchers and clinicians, a 60 year old male who quit smoking 15 years ago is still 28 times more likely to get lung cancer in the next 5 years than someone his age who never smoked. For reasons like this, it is important to be aware of lung cancer symptoms and take advantage of early lung cancer detection methods. If lung cancer is found in its earliest stages, the 5-year survival rate triples.
Below, we have listed the top 10 lung cancer symptoms, which we have expanded on in previous blogs. These symptoms may depend upon the site and extent of involvement with the tumor.
#1 Persistent Cough
#2 Shortness of breath
#3 Productive Cough
#5 Fluid in the lungs
#6 Chest pain or tightness in the chest
#7 Bone and joint pain
#8 Change in the voice
#10 Other symptoms
In this post, we would like to expand on one of those symptoms: productive cough, also known as coughing up blood or phlegm.
A productive cough is when some type of secretions come up during coughing, which could be in the form of mucus or blood.
When suffering from infection or disorder, the body accumulates phlegm in the throat. Smoking, infection, air pollution or presence of blood gives the phlegm a rusty brown color. Coughing up phlegm with blood is usually due to excessive smoking or high air pollution.
If a productive cough—especially one with blood—occurs in a patient with a history of smoking, lung cancer should be suspected and an appropriate work up is to be done to confirm or exclude this possibility.
Given the poor prognosis for most symptomatically detected lung cancer cases, the need for early detection is critical. It is important to quit smoking, to reduce your lung cancer risk as much as you can, but it is also important to remain informed about the symptoms of lung cancer, as well as early detection methods such as EarlyCDT-Lung.
If you know someone who has or is battling lung cancer, or if you are a lung cancer survivor, we invite you to share that story on our Lung Cancer Awareness Wall. The wall serves as a memorial for all people who have fought the #1 cancer killer. Currently, approximately 900 people have shared stories on our wall - Help us get to 1,000 in 2012!
If you think you or a loved one is at risk for lung cancer, we invite you to try out Free Lung Cancer Risk Assessment or see a complete list of lung cancer risk factors and lung cancer symptoms.
According to the American Cancer Society, early detection is the best chance to increase the lung cancer survival rate. To learn more about early detection, click here.