Lung cancer symptoms

The main symptoms of lung cancer are:

  • a new cough or change in an ongoing cough
  • breathlessness
  • chest pain
  • repeated bouts of pneumonia or bronchitis
  • coughing or spitting up blood

A person may have also experienced symptoms such as fatigue, weight loss, hoarse voice, wheezing, difficulty swallowing, and abdominal or joint pain.

          – James

Lung cancer symptoms can be vague and the disease is often discovered when it is advanced (has spread to other parts of the body). Having any one of these symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have cancer.

Some of these symptoms may be caused by other conditions or from the side effects of smoking. However, if you have symptoms, see your doctor without delay.

Sometimes, there are no symptoms and the cancer is found during routine tests (often an x-ray or CT scan) for other conditions. If so, the cancer is more likely to be in an early stage of development (confined to the lungs).

This information was last reviewed in November 2016.
View who reviewed this content
View our editorial policy

Support services

Coping with cancer?
Speak to a health professional or to someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum

Need legal and financial assistance?
Pro bono services, financial and legal assistance, and no interest loans

Looking for transport, accommodation or home help?
Practical advice and support during and after treatment

Cancer information

What is cancer?
How cancer starts and spreads

Dealing with the diagnosis
Common reactions to a cancer diagnosis and how to find hope

View our publications
Guides and fact sheets for people with cancer, their families and friends