Lung Cancer Symptoms And Causes

Lungs cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the lungs. Your lungs are two spongy organs in your chest that take in oxygen when you inhale and release carbon dioxide when you exhale.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide.

People who smoke are at the highest risk of lung cancer, although lung cancer can also occur in people who have never smoked. Your risk of lung cancer increases with the time and number of cigarettes you smoke. If you quit smoking even after you have smoked for several years, you can significantly reduce your chances of developing lung cancer.


Lung cancer typically doesn't cause signs and symptoms in its earliest stages. Signs and symptoms of lung cancer typically occur when the disease is advanced.

Signs and symptoms of lung cancer may include:

  • A new cough that doesn't go away
  • Coughing up blood, even a small amount
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Hoarseness
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Bone pain
  • Headache

When To See A Doctor?

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have persistent signs or symptoms that concern you.

If you smoke and are unable to quit, contact your doctor. Your doctor can recommend strategies for quitting smoking, such as counseling, medications, and nicotine replacement products.


Smoking causes most lung cancers - both in smokers and in people exposed to secondhand smoke. But lung cancer also occurs in people who have never smoked and who have never been exposed to secondhand smoke. In these cases, there may be no obvious cause of lung cancer.

How Smoking Causes Lung Cancer?

Doctors believe that smoking causes lung cancer by damaging the cells that line the lungs. When you inhale cigarette smoke, which is loaded with cancer-causing substances (carcinogens), changes in the lung tissue begin almost immediately.

At first your body may be able to repair this damage. But with each repeated exposure, the normal cells that line your lungs are becoming increasingly damaged. Over time, the damage causes the cells to function abnormally and eventually cancer can develop.

Types Of Lung Cancer

Doctors divide lung cancer into two major types based on the appearance of lung cancer cells under the microscope. Your doctor makes treatment decisions based on the type of lung cancer you have.

The two general types of lung cancer include:

Small cell lung cancer- Small cell lung cancer occurs almost exclusively in heavy smokers and is less common than non-small cell lung cancer.

Non-small cell lung cancer- Non-small cell lung cancer is an umbrella term for several types of lung cancer—non-small cell lung cancers include squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma.

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