Lung Cancer Symptoms

Taking care of an aging parent involves keeping your parent healthy and well. While you may only worry about your parent developing lung cancer if he is or was a smoker, it’s important to realize that lung cancer can occur in even those who have never smoked. While most people with lung cancer have smoked, 10-20 percent have never smoked. So, if you or your home care provider notice your parent experiencing any of these symptoms, plan a visit with your parent’s physician to get him checked out, even if he never smoked a day in his life.

Lung cancer often doesn’t have any symptoms until it’s already progressed into a dangerous growth. This is another reason to not ignore these symptoms should they start to appear in your elderly parent.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Shortness of breath. If your parent finds it harder and harder to catch his breath, even after non-physical activities, it could be cause for concern. Ask your home care provider if she’s noticed your parent struggling to breathe after climbing the stairs or taking out the garbage.
  • A persistent cough. If your parent has developed a cough that hasn’t gone away for more than a couple of weeks and doesn’t seem to be linked to any other ailments, it might be an early sign of lung cancer.
  • Coughing up blood or blood-stained mucus. This symptom is often the first to garner people’s attention. No one wants blood coming out of them. If your parent comes to you with this concern, make an immediate appointment with his doctor.

Some other common symptoms of lung cancer are:

  • The loss of appetite or desire to eat.
  • An unexpected weight loss.
  • Feeling tired all the time or generally fatigued.
  • Persistent shoulder, chest, or back pain that isn’t the result of a muscle strain or injury.
  • A change in his voice, especially if it has become consistently hoarse or raspy.
  • Making harsh sounds with each breath, also called stridor. Stridor is a harsh vibrating noise when breathing, caused by obstruction of the windpipe or larynx. It can also occur with lung cancer.
  • Your parent has recurrent lung problems, such as bronchitis or pneumonia, that he just can’t seem to shake. If your home care provider has helped your parent recover from either of these, and he’s just not getting better, a follow-up appointment should take place.

If the lung cancer has grown enough to spread outside the lungs, some first symptoms may not seem like typical lung cancer symptoms. Watch your parent for any of these symptoms:

  • The appearance of jaundice, which is the yellowing of the skin and eyes.
  • A sharp and/or consistent pain in the back, behind the lungs.
  • General bone pain.
  • Felling general confusion that seems abnormal.
  • Having difficulty swallowing.

Whether a smoker or not, watching for these symptoms and catching them early can give your parent a better chance of beating the disease.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring Home Care in Highland Park, IL, call the caring staff at LifeCare Home Health & In-Home Services. Call (888) 606-4199 LifeCare serves all of the Chicago Metro Area.


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