The early symptoms of lung cancer may be a slight cough or shortness of breath, and as the cancer develops, these symptoms may become more severe and intense. But like many other types of cancer, as the disease spreads, symptoms that affect other parts of the body may ensue. Different types of lung cancer can trigger different symptoms, particularly as they develop.
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) often starts in the bronchi (the airways that lead from the trachea into the lungs), then quickly grows and spreads to other parts of the body.
In some cases, lung cancer tumours may cause nerve damage.
Horner syndrome is a particular set of symptoms associated with nerve damage, and symptoms of the condition can be linked to the eyes.
Horner syndrome can cause a droopy eyelid and a reduction in the size of the pupil (the dark centre of the eye), advises Cancer Treatment Centres of America.
The symptoms often affect one side of the face.
Metastatic lung cancer may also cause symptoms that affect the eyes.
This type of lung cancer occurs when the cancer cells break away from a tumour and travel to other parts of the body through the blood or lymph system.
The research centre advises if either the brain or spinal cord is affected, symptoms may include blurred or double vision.
Other symptoms may include headache and difficulty with speech or seizures.
The main symptoms of lung cancer are listed by the NHS:
- a cough that doesn’t go away after 2 or 3 weeks
- a long-standing cough that gets worse
- chest infections that keep coming back
- coughing up blood
- an ache or pain when breathing or coughing
- persistent breathlessness
- persistent tiredness or lack of energy
- loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss
One of the best ways to prevent lung cancer and other serious conditions is to stop smoking as soon as possible.
Research has suggested eating a low-fat, high-fibre diet, including at least five portions a day of fresh fruit and vegetables and plenty of wholegrains can reduce your cancer risk.
There’s also strong evidence to suggest regular exercise can lower the risk of developing lung cancer.
Most adults are recommended to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, plus strength-training exercises on at least two days each week.