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Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is cancer that starts in the lungs. There are two main types of lung cancer:

  • Non-small cell lung cancer, which is the most common type of lung cancer
  • Small cell lung cancer, which makes up about 20% of all lung cancers

The following may increase your risk for lung cancer:

  • Secondhand smoke
  • Exposure to asbestos
  • Exposure to cancer-causing chemicals such as uranium, beryllium, vinyl chloride, nickel chromates, coal products, mustard gas, chloromethyl ethers, gasoline, and diesel exhaust
  • Exposure to radon gas
  • Family history of lung cancer
  • High levels of air pollution
  • High levels of arsenic in drinking water
  • Radiation therapy to the lungs

Signs & Symptoms

In its early stages, lung cancer may not cause any symptoms. Symptoms depend on the type of cancer, but can include:

  • Chest pain
  • Persistent cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing

These symptoms are more likely to occur when lung cancer is in later stages:

  • Bone pain or tenderness
  • Eyelid drooping
  • Facial paralysis
  • Hoarseness or changing voice
  • Joint pain
  • Nail problems
  • Shoulder pain
  • Swallowing difficulty
  • Swelling of the face or arms
  • Weakness


If lung cancer is suspected, a Deborah physician will perform a physical exam and ask about the patient’s medical history. When listening to the chest with a stethoscope, the physician may hear fluid around the lungs that suggests cancer may be present.

The doctor may order these tests to diagnose lung cancer or see if it has spread:

  • Bone scan
  • Chest x-ray
  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • CT scan of the chest
  • MRI of the chest
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
  • Sputum test to look for cancer cells
  • Thoracentesis

Confident in the Fight Against Lung Cancer

Deborah surgeon Joseph Costic, DO explains why we are now more confident than ever in the fight against lung cancer.

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