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Lung Cancer Symptoms

The symptoms of lung cancer can be categorized into: thoracic symptoms, extra thoracic non-metastatic symptoms, extra thoracic metastatic symptoms and general symptoms.

1. Thoracic signs and symptoms

  • The cough( at two thirds of the patients)
  •  The hemoptysis –coughing up blood
  • The thoracic pain.
  •  The dyspnoea – the difficulty of breathing.
  • The fever- frequently misleads to diagnostic mistakes due to its confusion with the breathing infections
  • The hoarseness occurs due to the vocal cords paralysis(the larynx nerve can be invaded)
  •  The superior vena cava syndrome (5% of the patients)
  • The Claude Bernard-Homer Syndrome.
  • The Pancoast-Tobias Syndrome.
  • The dysphagia- deglutition disorders, difficult ingestion.
  • Relapsing pleural collections
  • The diaphragmatic paralysis can occur due to the phrenic nerve paralysis which is localized on the same side with the tumor.

2. Signs and symptoms outside the thorax and which have no connection with the metastases (paraneoplastic syndroms)

  • Endocrine: hypercalcemia, Cushing Syndrome, carcinoma syndrome, gynecomastia, STH and ADH hypersecretion, hypoglycemia, hyperthyroidism, hypercalcitonemia, prolactine hypersecretion, FSH, LH.
  • Neurological: encephalopathy, subacute cerebellar degeneration, peripheral neuropathy, polymyositis, the Lambert-Eaton syndrome, progressive multi-focal leukoencephalopathy, optic neuritis.
  • Skeletal: nail clubbing, the hypertrophic pulmonary osteoarthropathy
  • Hematological: anemia, leukemoid reactions, thrombocytosis, thrombocytopenia, eozinophilia, aplastic anemia, leukoerithroblastosis, CID (disseminated intravascular coagulation)
  • Cutaneous and muscular: hyperkeratosis, dermatomyositis, acanthosis nigricans, hyperpigmentation, erythema gyratum repens, hypertrichosis lanuginosa acquisita.
  • Others: nephritic syndrome, hypouricemia, the secretion of the vasoactive intestinal peptide with diarrhea, hyperamylasemia, cachexy anorexia.

3. Signs and symptoms outside the thorax but produced by metastases

  • Neurological: hemiplegia, personality disorders, confusion, speech disorders, sight defects, pain.
  • Bony: bone pain and pathological fracture(1-2% of the patients)
  • Abdominal: jaundice, ascites, palpation of an abdominal tumor.
  • Others: palpation of  metastatic formation localized at distance (neck, muscles, under the skin)

4. General signs and symptoms which are non-specific:

  • Giving up weight (one third of the patients)
  • The asthenia
  • The anorexia



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