Certain non-small cell lung cancer can be asymptomatic during the first months or years. When symptoms finally emerge, their characteristics depend on the size of the tumor and its localization in the lungs and other organs (metastatic lung cancer).
In general, a “non-metastatic” non-small cell lung cancer can cause these symptoms:
- persistent cough that does not yield to conventional treatment and lasts for over 3 weeks
- bloody sputum
- bleeding from mouth ( rare)
- chest pain
- difficulty breathing
- difficulty swallowing
- shortness of breath
- dysphonia (hoarseness)
- chronic or repeated broncho-pulmonary infections
- Wheezing, which indicates incomplete obstruction of the airways.
Symptoms of non-small cell lung cancer that has spread to other sites vary depending on the organ affected:
- Metastatic lung cancer in the bone can cause pain in the spinal cord, ribs and femurs (or thigh bones)
- Metastatic lung cancer in the brain can lead to vision problems, seizures or weakness on one side of the body
- Metastatic lung cancer in the liver and the adrenal glands can cause weight loss, hormonal disorder, or no specific symptoms.
In addition, certain non small cell lung cancer can provoke:
- cardiac arrhythmias
- increases risk of blood clots
- muscle and nerve problems, mostly due to hypercalcemia
- High level of calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia).