Lung cancer

What are the symptoms of lung cancer?

On this page, we cover the symptoms of lung cancer. 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.

You may not have many 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.

You may begin to experience symptoms, such as:

  • a cough
  • lots of chest infections
  • feeling out of breath either at rest or when doing day to day tasks
  • 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: how is lung cancer diagnosed? >

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Last medically reviewed: February 2020. Due for review: February 2023

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.