Lung cancer: Three ‘unusual’ symptoms to watch out for – what do your nails look like?

Lung cancer is one of the most serious types of cancer to be diagnosed, as it’s usually difficult to spot until it has spread to other parts of the body. But it’s also one of the most common cancers to be diagnosed in the UK, warned the NHS. Signs of the disease only tend to reveal themselves once the cancer has spread through the lungs. You could be at risk of lung cancer if you develop a swollen face or neck, it’s been revealed.

Lung cancer can often go unnoticed, as many patients experience no symptoms at first


Swelling in your face could be an early warning sign of lung cancer, said Bupa UK.

It may be caused by the tumour pressing on the vein that goes from the head to the heart.

You could also be at risk of the condition if the tips of your fingers become swollen.

It’s known as finger clubbing, and is linked to low amounts of oxygen in the blood.

“Lung cancer can often go unnoticed, as many patients experience no symptoms at first,” said Bupa.

“The most common sign of the condition is a persistent cough that gets worse over time, coughing up blood or rust-coloured sputum [spit].

“There are other, more unusual, signs to watch out for including swelling in the face or neck, hoarseness and swollen finger tips [commonly known as clubbing].

“Lung cancer is the primary cause of finger clubbing, and starts with a softening of the nail bed and increasingly curved nails, which causes the fingers to swell.

“Early diagnosis and access to treatment are vital for improving outcomes, so it’s important to seek help promptly if you are worried.”

You could also be at risk of lung cancer if you develop chest pain that gets worse with deep breathing.

Recurrent chest infections, tiredness and losing weight for no reason should also be seen by a doctor, it added.

You could lower your risk of lung cancer by eating a low-fat, high-fibre diet, and by doing regular exercise.

Everyone should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week.

The outlook for lung cancer isn’t as good as other types of cancer, as the symptoms are usually only spotted in its later stages.

About one in three patients live for at least a year after their diagnosis, while one in 20 live for another 10 years.

Around 45,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK every year.

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