14 Surprising Signs Of Lung Cancer


What if you had lung cancer and didn’t even know it?

According to Cancer.org, about 235,760 new cases of lung cancer will occur in the U.S. in 2021. Many of those who develop lung cancer are surprised at the diagnosis. Because lung cancer usually spreads throughout the body before it is discovered, survival rates are poor. So, it’s important to spot the warning signs of lung cancer and seek treatment as soon as possible.

However, it’s difficult to notice the warning signs of lung cancer because so many of them are so surprising. We’re written a thorough guide to surprising signs of lung cancer, but just to be on the safe side, let’s quickly walk you through some of the more common signs first.

Common signs of lung cancer

Generally speaking, these are the most common signs of lung cancer:

  • Short breath
  • Persistent coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Chest pains
  • Coughing up blood, mucus, and/or phlegm

Now, many of these things may have other potential causes other than lung cancer. But you won’t know for sure until you go to your doctor.

With that out of the way, let’s dive into some of the most shocking and surprising signs of lung cancer.

1. Your voice changes

One surprising sign of lung cancer is that your voice may change, making it sound hoarse, raspy, or much deeper than it sounded before. Such a voice change happens when a tumor in your lungs starts pressing into the nerves affecting your vocal cords.

2. Pain in arms, shoulders, and/or eyes

There are actually different kinds of lung cancer, and they can all produce their own unique symptoms. For example, a Pancoast tumor can spread from your lungs out to your ribs, spine, blood vessels, or nerves. Depending on where it spreads, you may start experiencing unexpected pain in your arms, hands, shoulders, and even your eyes.

While the eye symptoms may start off small, the tumor may eventually reduce the size of a single pupil or cause your eyelid to droop. If you experience this, go to your doctor right away!

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3. Weight fluctuation

Lung cancer can affect your body’s hormones, and this may cause your weight to fluctuate up or down when your body changes up how much cortisol it produces. While most patients gain weight when this happens, some lose it, so pay close attention to those numbers on your scale.

4. Difficulty balancing

By now, you have probably realized that where the lung cancer tumors spread affects which symptoms you display. And if a tumor presses into the superior vena cava (a major vein in your upper body) and grows larger, it can eventually make you feel dizzy and give you trouble balancing. On top of this, lung cancer can lead to anemia, and this can cause its own balance issues for your body.

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5. Deep bone pain

Ever hear someone talk about feeling pain right down to their bones? Those with lung cancer may experience actual bone pain because cancer can spread to your bones. You will most likely experience such pain in your back, spine, pelvis, or legs, and the pain may get worse when you move or lay down.

6. Blood clotting

One of the most surprising signs of lung cancer is that you may experience clotting in your arms, legs, or lungs. This is most likely due to lung cancer causing increased inflammation within your body.

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7. Tummy troubles

A small number of those with lung cancer end up with too much calcium in their blood. When this happens, it can cause a range of tummy troubles ranging from constipation to stomach pain and outright nausea.

8. Chubby fingers

Does it look (and feel) like your fingers are getting fatter? Some with lung cancer develop chubby fingers and shiny, curving fingernails. If this is happening and there is no other explanation, you could have lung cancer.

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9. Unexpected headaches

We know what you are thinking: there are plenty of things that can lead to unwanted headaches. But the headaches due to lung cancer are very extreme and may even cause you to pass out. This may happen due to either blood backing up in your veins or the excess calcium we mentioned before.

10. Constant fatigue

It’s not uncommon to feel tired, but this is usually a temporary state. However, some with lung cancer develop anemia. This results in cancer effectively stripping your energy away and leaving you weak and unable to perform many of your normal daily tasks.

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11. Puffy features

Earlier, we talked about how chubby fingers can be a sign of lung cancer. Additionally, cancer can cause other features to look puffy, including your arms, face, and neck. This is another symptom of the blood in your body backing up because of cancer.

12. Heart issues

Some of the surprising signs we mentioned before, including calcium in the blood and anemia, can cause a range of heart problems. These problems range from an irregular heartbeat and shortness of breath all the way to chest pain and heart attacks.

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13. Extreme thirst

There is another surprising symptom of that excess calcium in your blood. Thanks to lung cancer, you may find yourself thirstier than ever and also urinating very frequently.

14. Anxiety and depression

Unfortunately, doctors are still trying to get to the bottom of certain surprising signs of lung cancer. For example, you are likelier to develop anxiety, depression, and even dementia. While we don’t yet know exactly how lung cancer leads to these symptoms, we always recommend taking your mental health very seriously and seeking help as soon as you can.