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LUNG CANCER symptoms usually develop as the disease progresses and aren’t evident in the early stages. There are, however, signs you should look out for, including this symptom in your fingers.
The main symptoms of lung cancer include problems associated directly with your lungs.
These comprise persistent or long-standing coughs, persistent chest infections, coughing up blood, persistent breathlessness, and aches or pains when breathing or coughing.
Other common symptoms are constant tiredness or lack of energy, loss of appetite and unexplained weight loss.
However, aside from the more common symptoms, a less common symptom is finger clubbing.
Finger clubbing is when the fingers and fingernails change shape, becoming more curved or larger at the ends.
According to Cancer Research UK, more than three out of 10 people with non small cell lung cancer will get finger clubbing.
However, only four out of 100 people with small cell lung cancer will develop finger clubbing.
Non small cell lung cancer is the most common type of primary lung cancer.
Small cell lung cancer is less common, making up about 10 per cent of lung cancers.
Lung cancer symptoms usually develop as the disease progresses
Finger clubbing happens in three stages:
First, the nail bed becomes soft an the skin next to the nail bed becomes shiny.
Second, the nails curve more than normal when looked at from the side.
Third, the ends of the fingers may get larger.
In the later stages of finger clubbing, extra areas of bone might form on the finger joints, wrists and ankles.
Finger clubbing is a less common symptom of lung cancer
Cancer Research: Speak to your doctor if you have finger clubbing
This is sometimes mistaken for arthritis and is called hypertrophic pulmonary osteoarthropathy.
Finger clubbing is thought to be caused by fluid collecting in the soft tissues at the ends of the fingers, which is caused by more blood flowing to the area than usual.
It may be due to the tumour producing particular chemicals or hormones.
“Finger clubbing is unusual. If you have it and are worried, do speak to your doctor. They should send you for a chest x-ray to check your heart and lungs,” said Cancer Research UK.
As well as finger clubbing, other less common symptoms of lung cancer include a high temperature or fever, difficulty or pain swallowing, wheezing, a hoarse voice, swelling of the face or neck, and persistent chest or shoulder pain.
According to cancer charity Macmillan, some of the symptoms of lung cancer can be caused by other conditions or by smoking.