Lung cancer: Wheezing or breathlessness are two warning signs of the deadly condition

Lung cancer: Signs and symptoms to look out for

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Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in one or both lungs. Treatment success is largely determined by the size of the cancer and how far it has spread from the lungs. There are two indicators of your potential risk to the deadly disease found in the way you breath.


Wheezing is a relatively common symptom that’s linked to a number of different medical conditions.

But on occasion, it could be caused by something more serious, including lung cancer.

Wheezing is the name given to a high-pitched whistling sound when you breathe.

The sound happens as air moves through narrowed airways.

“Different people have different symptoms for lung cancer,” said the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Some people have symptoms related to the lungs. Some people whose lung cancer has spread to other parts of the body have symptoms specific to that part of the body.

“Lung cancer symptoms may include coughing that gets worse or doesn’t go away, chest pain, shortness of breath [and] wheezing.

“Other changes that can sometimes occur with lung cancer may include repeated bouts of pneumonia and swollen or enlarged lymph nodes [glands] inside the chest in the area between the lungs.”


The British Lung Foundation (BLF) noted that feeling breathless during such an activity could be an indication of lung cancer.

The charity explained that “feeling out of breath when doing day-to-day tasks” is a symptom of the condition.

This feeling of breathlessness can also appear when “at rest” – these two signs require medical attention from your GP.

Breathlessness may be accompanied by chest pain, feeling tired, or unexplained weight loss.

Other signs of lung cancer include a cough, lots of chest infections, appetite loss and a hoarse voice.

Another warning sign is finding blood in your mucus or phlegm. However, these could be present in people with long-term lung disease.

Am I at risk?

There are some lifestyle and environmental factors that can increase your risk of developing lung cancer.

One of the gravest is smoking tobacco, according to Cancer Research UK.

According to the charity, around seven out of 10 lung cancers are caused by smoking.

Some substances also increase the risk of lung cancer.

“These include asbestos, silica, and diesel exhaust. People can be exposed to these through their work,” explains Cancer Research UK.

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