Consultant Surgical Oncologist & HIPEC Specialist


It may sound unbelievable when we say that your cough can be a sign of lung cancer, but you cannot deny the fact that coughing is one of the early signs of lungs cancer

Are you worried that your cough could be caused by lung cancer? Since lung cancer is most treatable in the early stages of the disease, finding cancer as early as possible is extremely important. Unfortunately, there is no way to know conclusively if a cough is due to lung cancer based on symptoms alone. That said, there are some signs and symptoms as well as risk factors that make it more likely that a cough may be a warning sign of lung cancer. What should you know if you’ve been coughing and aren’t sure of the cause?

There are many reasons for a cough. Having a cough does not usually mean that lung cancer is present. However, a persistent cough is a common symptom of lung cancer at the time of diagnosis. A persistent or worsening cough is not the only symptom of lung cancer. Other symptoms of this condition include:

  1. wheezing and difficulty breathing
  2. voice hoarseness
  3. problems swallowing or speaking
  4. loss of appetite
  5. weight loss
  6. fatigue
  7. swelling in the face or neck

A cough that occurs with lung cancer can be either dry or wet. It can occur at any time, and it can interfere with sleep at night.

Most people who develop lung cancer have a history of smoking. Smoking can also irritate the lungs and cause a short term cough.

Avoiding or quitting smoking can reduce the risk of many conditions that involve a cough, including lung cancer.

While coughs can be caused by a wide variety of factors, people should know what to look out for and when to seek help from their GP, experts have warned.

When to Call Your Doctor:

Cough is a very non-specific symptom. And when you have one, cancer is not the first thing you think of (nor should it be). Both the common cold and flu can persist for a few weeks.  Most coughs will subside or disappear within a few days to a few weeks.

“You don’t need to necessarily be worried about lung cancer in that situation if it’s associated with a viral illness,” Dr Vimalathithan , Oncologist In India  reassures

However, if a cough lasts for a long time or occurs alongside other symptoms — such as coughing up blood or chest pain — it is important to see a doctor.

Anyone who has a cough with the following symptoms should see a doctor as soon as possible:

  • blood or rust colored mucus or phlegm
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia that recur or do not go away