of Lung Cancer

The most common symptoms of lung cancer are a persistent cough, shortness of breath and blood in the sputum.

Signs and Symptoms of Lung Cancer

  • Persistent cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest discomfort or pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Blood in sputum (mucus coughed up from the lungs)
  • Hoarseness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Weigh loss
  • Loss of appetite

Risk factors

Anything that increases your chance of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get lung cancer and not having risk factors doesn’t mean that you will not get cancer, it simply means that you are at greater risk than normal to develop the cancer.

Smoking is the major risk factor for lung cancer

Smoking of cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, now or in the past is the most important risk factor for lung cancer. The earlier in life a person starts smoking, the more often a person smokes, and the more years a person smokes, the greater the risk of developing lung cancer.

Other Risk factors for lung cancer include the following:

  • Exposure to “secondhand” smoke (other individuals cigarette smoke)
  • Being exposed to radiation from
    • Previous radiation therapy to the breast or chest
    • Diagnostic imaging tests like CT scans
    • Atomic bomb radiation
  • Radon exposure in the home or workplace.
  • Exposure to asbestos, arsenic, soot or tar in the workplace

Older age is also a risk factor for most cancers. The chance of getting cancer increases as you get older.

Next: Diagnosis & Tests for Lung Cancer


American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2017.