Lung cancer symptoms
The main symptoms of lung cancer are:
- a persistent new cough or a change in an ongoing cough
- chest and/or shoulder pain
- repeated bouts of pneumonia or bronchitis
- coughing or spitting up blood.
A person diagnosed with lung cancer may also have experienced symptoms such as fatigue, weight loss, hoarse voice, wheezing, difficulty swallowing, abdominal or joint pain, and enlarged fingertips (finger clubbing).
Having any one of these symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have lung 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.
Lung cancer symptoms can be vague and the disease is often discovered when it has spread to other parts of the body. Sometimes, there are no symptoms and the cancer is found during routine tests (often an x-ray or CT scan) for other conditions.
|For an overview of what to expect during all stages of your cancer care, visit Cancer Pathways – Lung Cancer. This is a short guide to what is recommended, from diagnosis to treatment and beyond.|
Dr Henry Marshall, Thoracic Physician, The University of Queensland Thoracic Research Centre, The Prince Charles Hospital, QLD; Dr Naveed Alam, Thoracic Surgeon, St Vincent’s Melbourne and Epworth Richmond Hospitals, VIC; A/Prof Martin Borg, Radiation Oncologist, GenesisCare, SA; Dr Lisa Briggs, Consumer; Kirsten Mooney, Thoracic Cancer Nurse Coordinator, WA Cancer & Palliative Care Network, WA; Claire Mulvihill, Lung Cancer Support Nurse, Lung Foundation Australia; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; A/Prof Nick Pavlakis, President, Australasian Lung Cancer Trials Group, President Elect, Clinical Oncology Society of Australia, and Senior Staff Specialist, Department of Medical Oncology, Royal North Shore Hospital, NSW. We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
Click below to download a PDF booklet on this topic.
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