Is Coughing A Sign of Lung Cancer?

Is Coughing A Sign of Lung Cancer?

With the changing weather and increasing pollution levels, more and more people are experiencing the nagging cough. While cough is a protective mechanism that clears out chemical irritants and foreign bodies from the airways, if it lingers for weeks and even months, it could be a warning sign. Having a persistent cough is one of the most common symptoms of lung cancer at the time of diagnosis.

In most cases, over-the-counter medicines soothe the irritation and cure the cough caused by inhaled dust, smoke, infections including cold, pneumonia, or bronchitis and even long-term respiratory conditions like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Whereas it may turn into a persistent cough because of long term respiratory infections including bronchitis or chronic pneumonia, asthma, smoking, bronchiectasis, gastroesophageal reflux disease and also some medications like ACE inhibitors, which treat high blood pressure and heart disease. 

Usually, cough gets better and heals within a few days or weeks, but it’s important to consult a doctor if it lasts for a long time with symptoms including chest pain or coughing up blood. A thorough assessment is essential for identifying the exact cause behind coughing by analysing factors including:

  • The type of cough (whether it includes blood, rust coloured mucus or phlegm)
  • Triggers that worsen the cough 
  • Frequency of coughing, if it is experienced during the day, night or both 
  • Severity of coughing 
  • Other accompanying conditions like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Medications taken by a person 

Persistent or worsening cough is not the only symptom, the other symptoms considered for lung cancer diagnosis are:

  • Wheezing and difficulty in breathing 
  • Weight loss and fatigue
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Hoarseness in the voice 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Recurring respiratory infections like bronchitis, pneumonia or emphysema 

While having one of the above symptoms is nothing to worry about, if you experience multiple symptoms for an extended period of time, it’s time to consult a doctor soon. 

By: Navreet Kaur | on 2020-11-04

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