HomeblogsDiseasesCommon Signs & Symptoms of Lung Cancer Types

Common Signs & Symptoms of Lung Cancer Types

Lung cancer develops because of the abnormal division of cells in the lungs. Your cells divide as well as replicate themselves as a routine function. However, they can experience significant mutations that cause them to continue to divide in an uncontrolled manner.  Damaged cells that divide uncontrollably form masses of tissue, or lung tumours, that eventually prevent your body parts from functioning normally.

The most frequent kind of lung cancer is non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).  More than 80 per cent of  lung cancer cases are usually NSCLC. Adenocarcinoma, as well as squamous cell carcinoma, are common forms of non-small cell lung cancer. Two less prevalent NSCLC subtypes are adenosquamous carcinoma as well as sarcomatoid carcinoma.

Compared to NSCLC, small cell lung cancer (SCLC) spreads more rapidly and is more challenging to cure. Those who breathe harmful or poisonous substances most frequently experience this alteration in their lung cells.

  1. Symptoms of different types of lung cancer
  2. Squamous cell lung carcinoma
  3. Large-cell lung carcinoma (LCLC)
  4. Small-cell lung cancer (SCLC)
  5. What are the symptoms of different stages of lung cancer?

Symptoms of different types of lung cancer

Non-small cell lung cancer

Breathlessness and a persistent cough are indicators of non-small cell lung cancer. Sometimes there are no symptoms or indicators of lung cancer.

If you experience any of the following, consult your doctor

  • Chest pain: You may experience chest pain if a lung tumour compresses your chest or puts pressure on your nerves, usually when you take deep breaths, cough, or laugh.
  • Persistent cough: Since it persists for more than eight weeks, it is persistent. The cough associated with lung cancer frequently begins without mucous.  You could feel as if you need to continuously clear your throat. You may later begin to cough up rust-coloured mucous (sputum).
  • Breathlessness: People with NSCLC frequently experience dyspnea, also referred to as breathlessness.
  • Wheezing: As a frequent early indicator of lung cancer, wheezing might indicate an advanced stage of the illness or the spread of a malignant lung tumour.
  • Hoarseness: Some lung cancer patients may experience a hoarse (or harsh) voice. It might be brought on by the lung tumour putting pressure on the laryngeal nerve, a nerve located in the chest. One of your throat’s vocal cords could become numb and sound harsh if this nerve is compressed.
  • Loss of appetite: When you have lung cancer, you could occasionally become less hungry and have trouble swallowing as well as chewing.

Adenocarcinoma of the lung

Adenocarcinoma of the lung can develop without any signs or symptoms at first, particularly during the initial stages. A scanning or imaging examination of the chest area may find lung adenocarcinoma in some patients. It’s critical to talk to a physician if you have any of the adenocarcinoma symptoms listed below because many of these symptoms can be mistaken for those of other illnesses. Given below are the signs and symptoms of lung adenocarcinomas:

  • Continuous cough
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Chest discomfort
  • Rough voice
  • Tiredness
  • Breathing or swallowing problems
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing up blood in mucous
  • Reduced appetite
  • Inflammation of the face or the veins in your neck
  • Unexpected weight loss

Squamous cell lung carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma symptoms are identical to those of other types of lung cancer. Initially, lung cancer generally has no symptoms. Usually, when cancer has progressed, symptoms appear. Different people may experience different symptoms.

The most typical symptoms of squamous cell lung carcinoma are:

  • Persistent chest discomfort
  • Wheezing and breathing difficulties
  • Respiratory illnesses like bronchitis or pneumonia that persist
  • Rust- or blood-coloured sputum
  • A harsh voice
  • Inflammation on the face as well as the neck
  • Pain and a lack of strength in the hands, arms, or shoulders
  • Unusual fever

Symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma of the lung, which are generally similar to those of other cancers, include:

  • Extreme tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of weight
  • Headache
  • Body pain
  • Fragile bones

Large-cell lung carcinoma (LCLC)

Large cell carcinoma is a form of cancer that develops in several kinds of large cells. Typically, cancerous cells are analysed under a microscope to find out the kind of cancer, its diagnosis, and the best course of treatment. Lymphoma and lung cancer are two instances of large-cell carcinoma.

Symptoms: LCLC and other types of non-small cell lung cancer exhibit identical symptoms regardless of their classification. These include:

  • A long-lasting cough that becomes more severe over time
  • Blood in the sputum
  • Chest discomfort
  • Chest discomfort
  • Wheezing
  • Loss of weight without exercise
  • A lack of appetite
  • Drowsiness or tiredness
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Facial or neck inflammation

Many disorders might cause coughing, wheezing, or appetite loss, which are common cancer symptoms. Due to this, many lung cancer patients go undiagnosed in the initial phases. This may cause a delay in diagnosis, which could result in lung tumours being discovered at an advanced stage.

Small-cell lung cancer (SCLC)

Like all cancers, SCLC develops at the cellular level by causing defective lung cells to divide quickly and in an uncontrolled manner. Usually, SCLC develops in the lung’s airways and rapidly progresses to different regions of your body.

Around 25 percent of lung cancer cases are symptomless. However, the following are symptoms of SCLC, which are also present in all lung cancers. They include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Hoarseness
  • A persistent cough that progressively gets worse
  • Coughing up blood
  • Reduced appetite
  • Weight reduction without cause
  • Tiredness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Facial swelling

Pleural Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare form of lung cancer that manifests itself in the mesothelium, a thin layer of tissue that covers the majority of your internal organs. The wall of the lungs is affected by the most prevalent type, called pleural mesothelioma. Asbestos fibres absorbed through the air become trapped in the lungs’ protective coating, resulting in pleural mesothelioma. Asbestos fibres gradually aggravate and damage the lining, which may accelerate cancer development.

Symptoms: Before the tumour has grown large enough to harm the organs and tissues surrounding it, mesothelioma may not show any symptoms. Moreover, the location of the tumour affects the symptoms. The most typical signs of pleural mesothelioma include:

  • Breathlessness
  • Chest or lower back pain
  • A dry, recurrent cough
  • Difficulties swallowing
  • A sensation that something is trapped in the throat
  • Arms and face inflammation
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Obstruction of the small intestine

Regardless of the location in which the disease started, the majority of mesothelioma patients experience tiredness, fever, and weight loss due to appetite loss.
Lung carcinoid tumours

A malignant tumour consisting of neuroendocrine cells is referred to as a lung carcinoid tumour. These cells are situated in the lungs as well as other parts of the body. Because they both generate hormones or molecules that resemble hormones, they are identical to endocrine cells. They also possess the ability to produce neurotransmitters, which makes them similar to nerve cells. A tiny tumour termed a carcinoid tumour can occasionally be formed when neuroendocrine tumours divide too quickly. In addition to the lungs, other body organs can also develop carcinoid tumours.

Overall, 25% or more of those who have lung carcinoid tumours exhibit no symptoms. When you undergo diagnostic procedures for another condition, such as a chest X-ray for pulmonary disease, these tumours are frequently discovered.

Symptoms: Coughing or wheezing typically occur when symptoms occur. The mucus or phlegm from the cough may contain blood. An infection known as post-obstructive pneumonia may strike if the tumour is large enough to obstruct an airway. Additional symptoms include:

  • Facial redness as well as flushing
  • Wheezing
  • Breathlessness
  • Signs of asthma
  • Weakness
  • Increased blood pressure
  • An increase in weight
  • Body and facial hair growth (hirsutism).

Several conditions may be the source of carcinoid tumour symptoms. To determine the true source of the symptoms, it’s crucial to visit your doctor.

What are the symptoms of different stages of lung cancer?

Stage 0
The earliest stage of lung cancer that can be discovered is stage 0 . It is restricted to one, tiny, non-invasive lung tumour. Lung cancer in stage 0 should normally be cured with surgery or laser treatment. Yet, even NSCLC at this stage increases the likelihood of getting a second primary cancer ( it is known as a second primary cancer when an individual who has previously experienced cancer has been diagnosed with a new cancer).

Symptoms: Despite being identifiable, stage 0 NSCLC is infrequently discovered as the tumour is so tiny and frequently does not present symptoms that require evaluation. Stage 0 NSCLC is probably not the reason if you experience any respiratory issues such as a persistent cough, difficulty breathing, or chest pain. Your healthcare experts will look for any additional conditions you may have, such as pneumonia or asthma.

Stage 1
Stage 1 lung cancer is generally regarded as the initial form of the disease because the tumour is still significantly smaller and hasn’t migrated to the lymph nodes or other organs. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) makes up the majority of stage 1 lung cancers. About 80 percent to 85 percent of lung cancer diagnoses are NSCLC. Stage 1 NSCLC is divided into stage 1A and stage 1B, mostly determined by the size of the tumour.

Symptoms: The majority of early-stage lung cancers go undetected and are discovered during a diagnostic procedure. The signs and symptoms of stage 1 lung cancer comprise of a severe cough that stays for a longer time, mucus that contains blood when you cough, breathing difficulty, persistent chest pain, and lung infections.

Stage 2
The potential for lung cancerous growth from the lungs towards lymph nodes is frequently indicated by stage 2 lung cancer. The subcategories of stage 2 lung cancer are 2A and 2B lung cancers. Stages 2A and 2B of a tumour are determined by its size, location, and the development of cancer in adjacent lymph nodes.


  • Continuous cough
  • Spitting blood while coughing
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Hoarseness
  • The back, as well as the chest, hurts
  • Persistent illnesses, such as bronchitis and pneumonia

Stage 2 lung cancer symptoms, such as unexpected weight loss and tiredness, are less frequent compared to more severe stages because lung cancer has not spread outside the lungs. Women may experience different lung cancer symptoms than men, and non-smokers may experience different lung cancer symptoms than current or past smokers.

Stage 3
Stage 3 lung cancers may differ in terms of size, location, and how much far they have advanced from the lung to other organs. Nevertheless, stage III cancer only occurs in one lung. This stage is sometimes known as a locally progressed disease because it is restricted to the organ’s surrounding tissue, lymph nodes, and adjacent organs.


  • Chronic cough
  • Bleeding cough
  • Chest discomfort
  • Hoarseness
  • Reduced appetite
  • An unexpected loss of weight
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Recurring pneumonia as well as bronchitis
  • A sudden wheezing

The symptoms of lung cancer progressing include:

  • Bone ache
  • Headache
  • Loss of feeling in the arms or legs
  • Issues with balancing or vertigo
  • Seizures
  • Eyes as well as skin which are turning yellow (jaundice)
  • Enlarged lymph nodes

Stage 4
Stage 4 refers to the progression of lung cancer, which has progressed to many areas within the other lung, the fluid around the lung or even the heart, or distance sections of the body via the circulatory system. Cancerous cells can migrate to any part of the body once they reach the bloodstream.

There may be several signs and symptoms if lung cancer has progressed to other parts of the body, which include:

  • The yellowish colour of the eyes and skin (jaundice)
  • A feeling of discomfort in the bones
  • Headaches
  • Lymph nodes in the neck that are inflamed.
  • Problems with the nervous system, including balance disorders, seizures, vertigo, muscle weakness, and paralysis in the legs or arms.

The symptoms of early-stage lung cancer, which might include a chronic cough, pain in the chest, breathlessness, hoarseness of voice, and blood in the cough, may be linked with all these symptoms listed above. The location in the body where the lung cancer has progressed may also affect the symptoms. For instance, an individual with cancer spread in the brain is more likely to have headaches and neurological issues, but jaundice is frequently a symptom of cancer spread in the liver.


What are the unexpected signs of lung cancer?

These symptoms and indicators don't seem to be associated with our lungs. The general population would not anticipate that these signs or symptoms would serve as a lung cancer indication. These include:
• Digestive problems: Hypercalcemia, or having too much calcium in the blood, affects 10–20 percent of persons with lung cancer. An excessive amount of blood calcium may result in digestive issues like vomiting, constipation, or stomach aches.
• Frequent urination and extreme thirst: Hypercalcemia, the elevated calcium concentrations in the bloodstream that cause digestion issues, can also induce intense thirst as well as excessive urination.
• Swollen arms, neck, and face: A lung tumour might cause symptoms by compressing the big vein that transports blood to the brain as well as the arms.
• Inflamed breasts in men: Large-cell lung cancer, a less frequent kind, may affect a man's hormone balance, resulting in swollen and sensitive breasts.

What do early symptoms of lung cancer feel like?

Lung cancer often doesn't have visible or substantial symptoms in the early stages. Subsequently, it usually results in pain in the chest, wheezing, as well as coughing. Other, less well-known symptoms, however, can also present themselves in unexpected areas. They include inflamed fingertips, digestive issues, mental instability, and back and shoulder pain.

What are the emotional symptoms of lung cancer?

Following a lung cancer diagnosis, you may experience emotional distress. This might involve regulating your stress levels or coping with a multitude of feelings such as grief, anxiety, or rage. Sometimes it might be tough for individuals to tell their family members how they feel. Some people have discovered that speaking with an oncologist and a counsellor can help them come up with better coping mechanisms and cancer-related communication strategies.

Are lung cancer symptoms painful?

Yes, you may experience chest pain if a lung tumour compresses your chest or presses on your nerves, particularly when you take deep breaths, cough, or laugh.

What are the lung cancer symptoms on the skin?

Lung cancer symptoms on the skin include jaundice (yellow skin), itching, changes to the face like swelling, sweating, purple-coloured rashes near the eyes, and dark red pimples on the knuckles.

What are the symptoms of lung cancer in males?

Symptoms of lung cancer in males include a cough lasting for 3 weeks, recurrent chest infections, blood in the cough, breathlessness, and fatigue

What are the symptoms of lung cancer in females?

Symptoms of lung cancer in females include bloating, a chronic cough, a severe headache, and difficulty swallowing.

About The Author

Dr.William Lewis Aliquam sit amet dignissim ligula, eget sodales orci. Etiam vehicula est ligula, laoreet porttitor diam congue eget. Cras vestibulum id nisl eu luctus. In malesuada tortor magna, vel tincidunt augue fringilla eget. Fusce ac lectus nec tellus malesuada pretium.

MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery) Gold Medalist (2009-2015) M.D In General Medicine (2016-2019), CCID (Infectious Diseases)

PG Diploma In Clinical Endocrinology v& Diabetes, Clinical Associate in Non-Invasive Cardiology

Dr.William Lewis Aliquam sit amet dignissim ligula, eget sodales orci. Etiam vehicula est ligula, laoreet porttitor diam congue eget. Cras vestibulum id nisl eu luctus. In malesuada tortor magna, vel tincidunt augue fringilla eget. Fusce ac lectus nec tellus malesuada pretium.

MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery) Gold Medalist (2009-2015) M.D In General Medicine (2016-2019), CCID (Infectious Diseases)

PG Diploma In Clinical Endocrinology v& Diabetes, Clinical Associate in Non-Invasive Cardiology

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