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Lung cancer symptoms: The sign in your breathing that could signal the deadly condition

Lung cancer symptoms tend to develop as the condition progresses. One of the most recognised signs is a cough that doesn’t go away after two or three weeks. Lung cancer can also affect a person’s breathing – an ache or pain when breathing and persistent breathlessness are symptoms listed by the NHS.


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But lung cancer can affect a person’s breathing in another way.

According to, stridor is a symptom of lung cancer – but what is it?

Stridor is a medical term used to describe harsh sounds with each breath. offers a detailed explanation: “Stridor is a loud, harsh, high pitched respiratory sound.

“It may start as low-pitched ‘croaking’ and progress to high-pitched ‘crowing’ on more vigorous respiration.

“It is usually heard on inspiration due to partial obstruction of the airway (usually extrathoracic – that is, in the trachea, larynx or pharynx).”

But it’s important to note stridor isn’t always a symptom of lung cancer. continues: “Stridor is common in younger children with smaller airways.

“In children, acute stridor often accompanies upper respiratory tract infection.

“In children, chronic stridor usually occurs with congenital conditions.”

Stridor in adults is much less common.

It adds: “Chronic stridor in adults often indicates serious underlying pathology.”


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Other symptoms of lung cancer

Other symptoms are listed by the NHS as:

  • A long-standing cough that gets worse
  • Chest infections that keep coming back
  • Coughing up blood
  • Persistent tiredness or lack of energy
  • Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss

The health body says if you experience any of these symptoms, you should contact your GP.

Not all symptom of lung cancer are found in the chest.

These are less common signs but can occur in other areas of the body:

  • Changes in the appearance of your fingers, such as becoming more curved or their ends becoming larger (this is known as finger clubbing)
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) or pain when swallowing
  • Wheezing
  • A hoarse voice
  • Swelling of your face or neck
  • Persistent chest or shoulder pain

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