Signs & symptoms

Lung cancer does not always cause obvious symptoms, and two out of three cases of lung cancer are diagnosed at an advanced stage.  However, some people may experience symptoms at an earlier stage of the disease.

Detecting lung cancer at an earlier stage in those who are at high risk of developing the disease can improve outcomes. However, there is currently no lung cancer screening programme in Ireland.

The most common symptoms are:

  • A persistent cough
  • Breathlessness
  • Coughing up blood or phlegm with blood in it
  • Chest pain, especially with coughing or deep breaths
  • Recurrent chest infections that don’t seem to clear despite antibiotic treatment
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Other signs of illness may include a loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, unexplained bone pain and general fatigue or tiredness

While many of these symptoms may be due to conditions other than cancer, any changes in your respiratory or general health should be reported to your GP.