Symptoms and Signs of Lung Cancer

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 5/7/2020

Doctor's Notes on Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is a group of diseases characterized by abnormal cell growth (cancers, tumors) in lung tissues. The primary signs and symptoms of lung cancer are as follows:

Indirect signs and symptoms due to chemicals released from the cancer cells may include

There are many different types of lung cancers but most share these signs and symptoms.

Lung cancer is caused by abnormal growth and multiplication of lung cells; this is considered primary lung cancer while many other cancers in the lungs are due to metastatic cancer cells that originated in organs other than the lung that traveled through the body to reach the lungs. About 90% of lung cancers are due to smoking; other potential causes are air pollution, asbestos exposure, radon exposure, and lung diseases such as tuberculosis. Exposure to arsenic, chromium, nickel, ethers, and aromatic hydrocarbons increase the risk of developing lung cancer.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.