Lung cancer symptoms don’t usually appear in the early stages, but when they do appear, the most common symptom is a cough. A cough that doesn’t go away or gets worse is a sign associated with the disease.
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But not all symptoms of lung cancer are linked to a person’s lungs.
A person’s face may also show signs of lung cancer, with a recognised symptom being a swollen face.
LungCancer.net explains: “Lung cancer can cause swelling in the face and neck when a tumour presses on the vein that goes from the head to the heart. This symptom is called superior vena cava syndrome or superior vena cava obstruction.
“The superior vena cava is the name of the vein that carries blood from he head and arms to the heart.
“The superior vena cava passes near the upper part of the right lung, as well as near lymph nodes in the chest cavity.
“Tumours in or around the lung or in the lymph nodes may interfere with the functioning of the superior vena cava, blocking the normal flow of blood.”
The site notes that superior vena cava obstruction is most often caused by cancer.
In addition to lung cancer, other cancers that may cause superior vena cava obstruction include breast cancer, lymphoma, testicular cancer, thyroid cancer and a thymus tumour.
Superior ven cava obstruction can also be caused by other noncancerous conditions, such as lung infections like tuberculosis, inflammation of a vein (thrombophlebitis) and a fungal infection like histoplasmosis.
The site adds: “The symptoms of superior vena cava obstruction may develop quickly or gradually.
“Early symptoms include swelling around the eye or in the face, particularly in the morning.
“Common symptoms of superior vena cava obstruction include shortness of breath and swelling of the face, neck, arms, or torso.
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“Occasionally, superior vena cava obstruction can also cause symptoms of dizziness, headache, visual disturbances, fainting, and redness of the face, palms, or mucus membranes (tissue that produces mucus that lines many inner parts of the body) in the nose or mouth.”
No matter the cause, superior vena cava obstruction is serious and may be life-threatening. It requires immediate medical attention.
Other symptoms of lung cancer
- Coughing up blood
- Persisten breathlessness
- Unexplained tiredness and weight loss
- An ache or pain when breathing or coughing
Lung cancer treatment
Treatment for lung cancer depends on a number of factors, according to the NHS, including:
- The type of lung cancer you have (non-small-cell or small-cell mutations on the cancer)
- The size and position of the cancer
- How advanced your cancer is (the stage)
- Your overall health
The health body adds: “Deciding what treatment is best for you can be difficult. Your cancer team will make recommendations, but the final decision will be yours.
“The most common treatment options include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Depending on the type of cancer and the stage, you may receive a combination of these treatments.”
How to prevent lung cancer
The health body also advises how best to prevent lung cancer.
Stopping smoking is one of the best ways to prevent lung cancer.
It advises: “However long you have been smoking, it’s always worth quitting. Every year you do not smoke decreases your risk of getting serious illnesses, such as lung cancer. After 10 years of not smoking, your chances of developing lung cancer falls to half that of someone who smokes.”
Eating a balanced diet and regular exercise can also help.
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