Lung Cancer Prevention & Awareness - Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare

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Published on November 03, 2014

Lung Cancer Prevention & Awareness

Did you know that more people die of lung cancer every year than from colon, breast and prostate cancers combined? Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer among both men and women, and cigarette smoking is the No. 1 cause of lung cancer. About 80% of lung cancer deaths result from smoking.

Signs & Symptoms

You may not notice signs of lung cancer in its early stages. When early lung cancer does cause symptoms, they’re often health problems you’d have anyway if you smoke. For example, some early signs of lung cancer include shortness of breath and the inability to exercise without feeling out of breath or coughing.

A cough is the most common symptom of lung cancer. Other symptoms include:

  • Constant chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Recurring lung infections, such as pneumonia or bronchitis
  • Bloody or rust-colored sputum
  • Hoarseness
  • A tumor that presses on large blood vessels near the lung can cause swelling of the neck and face
  • A tumor that presses on certain nerves near the lung can cause pain and weakness in the shoulder, arm, or hand
  • Fever for unknown reason

Like many other cancers, lung cancer can cause:

  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of weight
  • Headache
  • Pain in other parts of the body not affected by the cancer
  • Bone fractures

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you should talk with your doctor right away.


The best way to reduce your chances of getting lung cancer is to quit smoking. Many resources and programs are available to help improve your chances of quitting successfully. The most important first step is to talk to your primary care physician about your desire to quit. He or she is the best person to help guide you on how best to approach quitting, including available medications and other support.

If you need a primary care physician, search for one who's right for you.

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare offers these additional resources to support you in your smoking cessation efforts:

Great American Smokeout

November 20 is this year’s American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout, which encourages smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. Learn more about the Smokeout and find helpful resources on the American Cancer Society website.

For more information about lung cancer, visit our Health Library.

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Lung Cancer Prevention & Awareness