13. Swelling of the face, neck or arms
Lung cancer in its early stages can be quite difficult to diagnose. This is because patients tend to only show symptoms once cancer has progressed and spread to other organs or body parts. There are some people who do display symptoms early on. These include coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, and hoarseness. To name but a few.
While these symptoms do not generally appear early in the disease, they are common to most cancer patients. There are, however, some lung cancers which cause syndromes. A syndrome which is caused by lung cancer is one in which there are a group of specific symptoms. One of these is superior vena cava syndrome.
The superior vena cava is a vein that carries deoxygenated blood from the head and arms to the heart. It passes by the upper right lung. If there is a tumor in this part of the lung, it could apply pressure to this vein. This pressure could result in a pooling of blood in the vein which would cause swelling in the face, arms, and neck. The skin in these parts may even appear to be a blue or red color.
Some patients may even display neurological symptoms if this pooling is severe enough to affect the brain. These could be dizziness, headaches and a loss of consciousness. Clearly, this syndrome is specific to lung cancer patients who have a tumor in a specific region. It is, however, a set of symptoms which should not be ignored. The progression of this condition is generally gradual, but there are cases where it can progress rapidly, thus requiring immediate medical attention.