Due to its aggressive characteristic, small cell lung cancer is rarely asymptomatic; it is often associated with a variety of symptoms. Small cell lung cancer tends to cause cough, f atigue and anorexia. With times, however, other symptoms can emerge, which vary depending on tissue affected.
Symptoms due to primary tumor
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
- chest pain
- shortness of breath
- Coughing up of blood or of blood-stained sputum (hemoptysis).
When the cancer has reached surrounding organs/tissues, it can provoke:
- wheezing, due to compression of the trachea and mainstem bronchi;
- superior vena cava obstruction
- harsh, raspy, or strained voice (hoarseness)
- phrenic nerve palsy
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), due to compression of esophagus.
Symptoms associated with distant metastases can include:
- neurological dysfunction, due to brain metastasis, spinal cord compression
- bone pain, due to bone metastasis
- Abdominal/right upper quadrant pain, due to liver metastasis.