The odd lung cancer symptom you can spot on your fingers – and the 9 other signs you must know
WHEN you think of lung cancer, you might automatically assume that you’d experience symptoms in your chest.
But experts say there is a surprising sign of the illness that you might spot in your fingers.
You might only associate lung cancer with the chest area, but guidance states you might also experience symptoms on your fingers[/caption]
Lung cancer is one of the most deadliest forms of the illness in the UK, data from Cancer Research UK states.
It accounts for around 13 per cent of all new cases of the disease each year and each day, around 130 people are told they have the illness.
In recent months, A Place in the Sun star Jonnie Irwin has revealed his battle with the illness.
Dame Esther Rantzen also revealed she had been diagnosed with the condition at 82.
If you’re worried about the illness, it’s important to know what to look out for.
Medics at Cancer Research UK said some people have swollen fingers and nails, also known as finger clubbing.
In most cases, it might not be cancer, but the charity explained that the issue can be a sign of underlying health conditions present in the lungs and heart.
It’s not clear what causes the clubbing, but research from the charity shows that it may be due to large cells such as megakaryocytes, which get stuck in the small blood vessels at the tips of the fingers.
Official guidance states: “Finger clubbing is unusual. If you think you might have it and are worried, do speak to your doctor.
“They can examine you and find out about any other symptoms you might have.
“They can send you for tests if necessary, such as a chest x-ray to check your lungs.”
While finger clubbing is a rarer symptom of lung cancer, the experts at the charity said there are nine that are the most common in those diagnosed with the illness.
- having a cough most of the time
- having a change in a cough you have had for a long time – it may sound different or be painful when you cough
- getting out of breath doing the things you used to do without a problem
- coughing up phlegm (sputum) with blood in it
- having an ache or pain in the chest or shoulder
- chest infections that keep coming back or a chest infection that doesn’t get better
- losing your appetite
- feeling tired all the time (fatigue)
- losing weight
The experts note that a cough is also a symptom of Covid-19.
They said that it’s still important to contact your GP if your have a new or worsening cough as they can speak to you over the phone or by a video call and arrange for tests if you need them.
In some cases you may also experience pain and swelling in the joints.
While it’s rare, the medics stated that some types of lung cancer cells produce hormones that go into the bloodstream.
They explained that these hormones can cause symptoms that don’t seem to be related to lung cancer.
Doctors call this paraneoplastic syndrome and the symptoms may include:
- pins and needles or numbness in the fingers or toes
- muscle weakness
- drowsiness, weakness, dizziness and confusion
- breast swelling in men
- blood clots.
The medics also warned that there is a very rare type of lung cancer that can grow right at the top of the lung, which is called a Pancoasr tumour.
Most people who have this type of cancer will suffer severe shoulder pain, or pain that travels down the arm.
If you’re worried about any of your symptoms, you should book an appointment with your GP.
In the event of an emergency, always call 999 or go to your nearest A&E department.
Source of data and images: thesun