Lung cancer

Symptoms of lung cancer

You often won’t have any symptoms of lung cancer until a tumour becomes quite large. This means it might only be discovered when you have an X-ray or scan for a different reason.

As your condition progresses, you’ll begin to experience symptoms, such as:

  • a cough
  • feeling out of breath
  • chest pain
  • feeling tired      
  • appetite loss
  • weight loss
  • a hoarse voice
  • blood in your mucus or phlegm

If you have these symptoms, you should see your doctor. Having these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you have lung cancer – they’re common and have many different causes. People with long-term lung disease might already have many of them. But it’s very important to tell your doctor if your usual symptoms change or become worse.

If you have a tumour that has spread outside your lungs, the first symptom might not come from your chest at all. In this case, symptoms might include:

  • back pain
  • bone pain or fracture
  • nerve or brain damage – this might affect walking, talking, behaviour or memory
  • confusion
  • swallowing difficulties
  • jaundice – when your skin or eyes become yellow

Next: Diagnosing lung cancer >

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Last medically reviewed: February 2017. Due for review: February 2020

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.