Lung cancer, like most chronic conditions, does not affect everyone equally. Symptoms can vary from person to person, as well as at different stages of the condition. While there are several common symptoms of lung cancer, such as persistent cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing up blood, or loss of appetite, other symptoms can be more individual-specific and come out of left field. While everyone’s experience is different, there are some potential additional symptoms that some patients may experience.
These often accompany more advanced stages of lung cancer, however, they can be relatively unexpected. Some common neurological symptoms individuals experience include unsteady gait or problems walking, memory loss, seizures, or visual disturbances.
Comorbid conditions are any health conditions that a person has at the same time. They can range from pre-existing conditions, to conditions as a result of treatment, to even cancer-related issues. For individuals with lung cancer, these symptoms can manifest as frequent lung-related problems such as recurring bronchitis or pneumonia. Additionally, patients may develop anemia as a result of low red blood cell counts. Anemia often leads to fatigue, which many patients experience. Jaundice, a yellowing of the skin as a result of liver dysfunction, can also occur as an unexpected symptom of lung cancer progression.
Aside from just general fatigue, you may experience general muscle weakness and bone fragility. This means that lifting common objects, standing for long periods of time, or participating in normal activities may become a physical struggle. Bones often can become fragile as cancer progresses as well. This can lead to accidental fractures from seemingly harmless movements.
Mental State Changes
Changes in your mental health or mental state are so common, and need to be something to stay on top of. A diagnosis of lung cancer may bring up feelings of regret, anxiety, anger, and many other negative and overwhelming feelings. These feelings can often manifest and start to affect mental health. Depression and anxiety are all too common with a chronic illness, and can be something that some often don’t expect or take seriously. Taking care of your body includes taking care of your mind, and these feelings shouldn’t be ignored. Reaching out to a counselor, friend, support group, or community like LungCancer.net can help you to handle and better understand these feelings.
As always, everyone’s experiences will vary, and are very case-specific. There is no direct route from point A to point B with lung cancer, and the best way to keep fighting is to be prepared for whatever your battle may throw at you. Let us know about any of your uncommon or unexpected symptoms with lung cancer. They may be more common than we all realize.1
“Lung Cancer 101: Symptoms.” LungCancer.org. 2017. Available from: http://www.lungcancer.org/find_information/publications/163-lung_cancer_101/266-symptoms.