Lung Cancer Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of lung cancer will vary depending on where the disease is located and whether it has spread (metastasized) throughout the body. Unfortunately, lung cancer symptoms often occur late in the disease when the cancer has already spread to other organs. The Virginia Mason Care Team at Virginia Mason's Hospital & Seattle Medical Center works with each patient to evaluate symptoms, make a diagnosis, provide treatment, and with post-treatment care.

Signs and symptoms may include the following:

  • Pain deep within the chest, often after mild exertion such as walking up stairs
  • Persistent cough
  • Sputum (mucus) streaked with blood
  • Hoarseness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent chest infection
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bronchitis
  • Chest, shoulder and back pain
  • Weakness in the legs
  • Swelling in the face and neck

If the cancer has spread to other organs these symptoms may be present:

  • Headaches
  • Bone fractures
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots

If you have any of these signs or symptoms see your doctor immediately. He or she will run a number of diagnostic tests that may include a chest x-ray, a CT scan and a bronchoscopy (see Diagnosing Lung Cancer).