About 25 percent of people who have lung cancer will show no symptoms before they’re diagnosed. Their cancer often is diagnosed from a routine chest X-ray or from a CT scan done for other reasons. But most who are diagnosed with lung cancer do have signs and symptoms of the disease. Here are the more common ones.
Wheezing — a whistling sound made when someone with a constricted airway exhales — is a symptom of many lung conditions, including lung cancer. In cancer patients, wheezing can be caused by a tumor pressing on an airway.
If lung cancer has invaded a patient’s esophagus, he or she may experience pain or difficulty while swallowing, This symptom, called dysphagia, can seriously affect the quality of life. One study of 391 people with lung cancer found that those who reported the most pain with swallowing had a greater chance of dying from the disease.