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Learn About Lung Cancer Symptoms in NJ, CT, MD and the Washington, DC Area

As with most cancers, early detection plays an important role in the treatment of lung cancer. Knowledge of lung cancer symptoms increases the possibility of detecting the disease in its earlier stages, and this can impact the range of treatments available and the outcomes that can be achieved.

Lung cancer develops because of mutations and changes occurring in the cells of the lungs, with affected cells growing at a faster rate than normal lung tissue. People who notice lung cancer symptoms should contact a physician as soon as possible. Cancer care experts are available at Regional Cancer Care Associates, which has 25 convenient locations in New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland and the Washington, D.C., area.

Recognize Lung Cancer Symptoms

Person coughing with potential lung cancer symptoms

Unfortunately, the signs of lung cancer aren’t always noticeable in the early stages of the disease, and symptoms can be mild at that point. Lung cancer symptoms may include:

  • Coughing: This is cause for concern, especially when the cough is persistent or worsening, and if the cough produces blood or rust-colored sputum.
  • Shortness of breath: Being short of breath with mild exertion, or even without exertion, is a concerning sign that should be evaluated.
  • Hoarseness and wheezing: This includes harsh-sounding breathing, as well as a hoarse or raspy voice.
  • Chest pain: Pain also may be noticed in the shoulders or back, and often can be made worse by laughing, deep breathing, or coughing.
  • Bronchitis: Recurring bronchitis and the development of pneumonia can be symptoms of lung cancer.
  • Weight loss: Loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss may be signs of cancer, including lung cancer.
  • Fatigue: Feeling tired, weak, and listless can point to lung cancer.
  • Swelling: The face and neck may swell, and sometimes there can be trouble with swallowing.
  • Wide fingertips: This thickening of the fingertips is also called clubbing and can be caused by hormone-like chemicals created by lung cancer tumors.
  • Digestive problems: These include nausea, constipation, and excessive thirst. Some patients also experience gastrointestinal cramping.

Other lung cancer symptoms may arise after cancer has spread in the body.

  • Nervous system symptoms, such as headaches, problems with balance, and numbness
  • Bone pain, including in the back
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck and collarbone
  • A yellow tint to the skin and eyes, also called jaundice

Some lung cancers are detected following the development distinctive syndromes, such as:

  • Horner syndrome: This is characterized by shoulder pain, drooping of one or both upper eyelids, one pupil being smaller than the other (or both pupils being smaller than normal), and the absence of sweating on one side of the face.
  • Superior vena cava syndrome: Symptoms include swelling in the neck, arms, upper chest, and face, bluish-red skin color, headaches, and dizziness.
  • Paraneoplastic syndromes: Hormone-like chemicals affect organs in these syndromes:
    • SIADH (syndrome of inappropriate anti-diuretic hormone) results in tiredness, muscle weakness and cramps, loss of appetite, vomiting, confusion, and an inability to settle comfortably.
    • Cushing syndrome results in bruising, weakness and tiredness, weight gain, and retention of fluids.

Risk Factors for Developing Lung Cancer

Many lung cancer symptoms, such as cough or hoarseness, may be due to other causes. It is important that people experiencing any symptom of potential lung cancer see a physician promptly for evaluation. This is particularly true for people who have risk factors for lung cancer, which include:

  • Smoking tobacco or marijuana – either currently or in the past
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke, diesel exhaust, radon, or asbestos
  • A history of radiation therapy

Options for Lung Cancer Treatment

Patients diagnosed with lung cancer today have more treatment options than ever before. Those options include immunotherapy, targeted therapies, surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, with a patient typically receiving a combination of those treatments over time. The expert medical oncologists of RCCA carefully consider each patient’s case in developing a comprehensive approach designed to obtain the best possible outcome.

Consult With Lung Cancer Specialists in NJ, CT, and MD

Patients who note lung cancer symptoms should make an appointment with their healthcare professional without delay. Early detection and diagnosis mean more options for the effective treatment of lung cancer. At Regional Cancer Care Associates, our medical oncologists and clinical staff members offer expert, compassionate care to patients with lung cancer or other cancers or blood disorders. Our specialists practice at 25 conveniently located care centers throughout New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland and the Washington, D.C., area. Make an appointment at a Regional Cancer Care Associates location today.

Let Us Help You Fight

If you or a loved one is battling non-Hodgkin lymphoma, you aren’t alone. Our experts at Regional Cancer Care Associates are dedicated to delivering accurate diagnoses and effective treatments. To find out more or make an appointment, get in touch with us at one of our locations throughout Connecticut, Maryland, and New Jersey.


Regional Cancer Care Associates is one of fewer than 200 medical practices in the country selected to participate in the Oncology Care Model (OCM); a recent Medicare initiative aimed at improving care coordination and access to and quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries undergoing chemotherapy treatment.