Symptoms of lung cancer include:
- a cough for three weeks or more
- a change in a cough you have had for a long time
- a chest infection that does not get better or repeated chest infections
- feeling breathless and wheezy for no reason
- coughing up blood
- chest or shoulder pain that does not get better
- a hoarse voice for three weeks or more.
Other possible symptoms may include:
- unexplained weight loss
- feeling tired.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is important to always get checked by your GP.
If you have symptoms that you are worried may be cancer, it is important to still seek advice from your GP surgery. Your symptoms do not mean you have cancer and could be caused by a number of common conditions but it is always best to get checked.
Your GP will ask about your symptoms and examine you. If they think your symptoms could suggest lung cancer, they will organise blood tests and a chest X-ray straight away.
Chest X-ray – is the most frequently carried out procedure in any X-ray department. A chest X-ray gives a black and white picture of your lungs, ribs, heart and diaphragm.
The chest X-ray will be done at the hospital. The blood tests could be done at your GP surgery or at the hospital. Results can take a few days.
If your chest X-ray is normal, you may receive a telephone call from one of the cancer care team and/or a letter to let you know. Your GP will also get a letter confirming the results.
The hospital may see the results of your X-ray before your GP does and, if they have concerns, one of the cancer care team may contact you directly. They may ask you a few questions about your symptoms and medications and may recommend a CT scan.
Computerised tomography (CT) scan – a CT scan is carried out by the consultant radiologist at the hospital. A CT scan can produce detailed images of the inside of the body to diagnose conditions.