General symptoms: weight loss, fatigue or tiredness and anorexia are generally in advanced stages of the disease. Central nervous system: They are present in 10% of cases at the time of diagnosis in small cell tumors. Generate a wide range of symptoms ranging from behavioral disturbances, headache, limb motor paralysis and even coma.

lung cancer symptoms

Allocation of bones: Bone pain is typical of metastatic lesions that settle in the bone, in order of frequency at the level of the vertebrae, pelvis, long bones ulna, radius, femur, tibia and fibula and ribs. Superior syndrome: 12% of patients with lung cancer have this syndrome. This is due to compression and thrombosis of the superior by direct invasion of the tumor or lymph surrounding it.

This syndrome is identified by swelling of the neck, head and right upper extremity, with a marked dilation of the veins in these locations.  Most patients with lung such as “small cell” cancer have advanced disease when goes to the doctor. Less than 5% of these tumors are discovered incidentally after a chest radiography performed for other reasons and 70% have metastatic disease at diagnosis.

How is lung cancer diagnosed?

Suspecting lung cancer should be performed in addition to a proper medical history, to collect all patient data, a series of tests to confirm the diagnosis and help decide the therapeutic approach to follow. First, you must perform a series of basic tests, as are a blood test and a chest radiography. Although the embodiment of the latter is forced, its usefulness is limited in lesions measuring less than 1 cm. Detected the lesion should initiate a study to know the type of cells that form the tumor (etiological diagnosis), as well as the extent and severity of the tumor (staging):

The patient will collect the first expectoration in the morning, after washing the mouth and teeth. If not present, spontaneous expectoration will be necessary to provoke by inhalation of hyper tonic saline. The sample will be analyzed under a microscope for the presence of malignant cells. It is most useful for diagnosing lung cancer diagnostic technique. It involves inserting a tube optical fiber through the mouth or nose, for displaying the bronchi.

The endoscope allows sampling by suctioning and bronchial washing with serum. It also allows biopsies, directly from injuries if they are visible through the bronchus or in the area where it is suspected that the injury is when it is not visible. This technique allows us, therefore additional information on the location of the tumor and its extension into the respiratory tree and collects samples to study the type of tumor. These data are essential for staging and treatment planning.

It is uneconomical when tumors are located in the lung periphery, since in these cases is very difficult to reach the injury to sample. Regarding the etiologic diagnosis methods mentioned above it is essential to know the malignancy process. However, most clinical utility derived from security of classifying the tumor within two types: lung non-small cell and small cell cancer.

Diagnosis of extension or tumor staging

To assess tumor extent and possible distant metastases, it is necessary to perform a series of diagnostic tests. These tests should be done following a scheme that allows maximum performance using the most basic clinical and instrumental tests. In assessing the size of the tumor, computed tomography (CT) scan has a high value. With regard to the assessment of affected lymph or lymph nodes can be identified by different tests among which the TAC is the most used.