Lung cancer and an early diagnosisUnfortunately, like other types of cancers, if you have lung cancer you may not notice the symptoms until the cancer has spread, but under some conditions, if you know what to look for you might be able to notice some of the earliest symptoms and go to the doctor and get a diagnosis, which increases your chances of surviving the disease.
Symptoms of Lung Cancer
So what symptoms might indicate you have lung cancer? Unfortunately, the symptoms of lung cancer could also be an indication you have another health conditions. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- A persistent cough
- Chest pain, especially when you cough, laugh or breathe
- Loss of weight
- Loss of appetite
- Shortness of breath
- Lack of energy
- Coughing up phlegm or blood
- Infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia
All the symptoms listed above may exist in the earliest stages of the disease. If you do not diagnosis lung cancer in the earliest stages you will start to have more serious and persistent symptoms. For instance, you may start to notice pain in your back and hips, headaches, numbness, dizziness, lack of balance or seizures. If the cancer spreads to your liver you will have jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin and eyes. If lung cancer spreads to the skin or lymph nodes you may have lumps in your lymphatic system.
Diagnosis generally made after Lung Cancer spreads
Unfortunately, because early detection is so tough, approximately 40 percent of people diagnosed with lung cancer will not find out they have the condition until it has spread to another organ. Another one third will not have a diagnosis until it reaches stage 3.
Other patients may have one of the early symptoms listed above and will ignore it. For instance, they may have a lingering cough and assume it is simply a respiratory infection. Experts suggest, however, if you have a lingering cough its important to see a doctor immediately. The doctor can listen to your lungs and may order an X-ray.
Treatment for Lung Cancer
Treatment options for lung cancer will vary depending on the type of cancer and how far it has spread. In some cases lung cancer can be treated with chemotherapy, surgery, radiation or a combination of the above.
Surgery will allow the doctor to target specific cancer tissue and remove it. Chemotherapy uses specific medicines to target cancer cells and shrink the cancer. Radiation kills the cancer with high-energy rays and targeted therapy may allow you to take certain drugs which can block the growth and spread of cancer cells.
SSDI and Lung Cancer
Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI is offered to patients who have advanced lung cancer and who are unable to work for at least 12 continuous months and who have paid enough into the Social Security system to be considered insured by the SSA. To qualify for SSDI you cannot be working a full-time job.