When a cough is deadly...

Believe it or not, lung cancer—not breast or uterine or ovarian cancer—claims more women’s lives every year than any other type of cancer. One of the reasons is that there’s no proven screening test for detecting early lung cancer, so the majority of patients (about 70 percent) are diagnosed once the cancer is advanced and has spread elsewhere in the body. Back pain, headaches, weight loss, and fatigue are all typical symptoms of advanced lung cancer. Bone pain is also common, because that’s where lung cancer tends to spread first, [Andrea McKee, M.D.], chairwoman of radiation oncology at the Lahey Hospital and Medical Center Sophia Gordon Cancer Center in Burlington, Massachusetts, told SELF. McKee also serves on the Lung Association's Lung Cancer Expert Medical Advisory Panel and works with their LUNG FORCE initiative to help raise awareness and educate women about lung cancer. But while the majority of people diagnosed with lung cancer don’t experience obvious symptoms in its early stages, some people may present with one really simple symptom early on: a chronic cough. "Sometimes in the periphery [of the lungs] a tumor can just keep growing to a relatively large size before we’ll diagnose it because it won't cause very many symptoms," Dr. McKee explains. But if a tumor is pushing on one of the bronchi, the major air passages going to the lungs, it will likely trigger the cough receptors. "It can trigger a cough even if the tumor is relatively small," she explains, if it's pushing on the right spot.

Being able to recognize this super subtle symptom can help you catch lung cancer in its beginning stages—which is crucial.

Via Glamour

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