Look out for your lungs
Some of the symptoms of lung cancer can be similar to a number of other lung conditions– the important thing is that you do something about it.
And the fact that you are here reading this hopefully means you are doing just that.
You might have put symptoms such as a persistent cough or wheezing down to the fact you’ve had Covid-19 or you’re less fit than you used to be – you might have even started changing your daily routines to deal with the symptoms.
This site is dedicated to helping you get informed about lung cancer – including recognising its risk factors and symptoms.
It’s also an important reminder to see a doctor or other health care professional to discuss your lung health.
Don’t ignore symptoms
The symptoms of lung cancer can vary from person to person.
If you experience any of the following, it could be time to make an appointment with your doctor.
A nagging cough that’s lasted a month or more, or has got worse
Getting out of puff during every-day activities
Experiencing pain or tightness in your chest
Coughing up blood or rust coloured spit
You hear a whistling/wheezing sound when you breath in
Keep having chest infections
Your voice has changed, possibly sounding husky
Feeling more tired than normal
Weight loss for no reason
Your symptoms may be caused by any number of less serious reasons, so try not to assume the worst. The important thing is that you see your doctor to find out what’s going on, even if it is just to put your mind at rest.
Anyone can get lung cancer, but there are some things that increase your risk
A risk factor is something that increases the chance of developing a disease.
The biggest, and most well-known risk factor by far, is if you are or have previously been a smoker. Other risk factors include exposure to dangerous materials (like asbestos), chemicals, dust, fumes or second-hand smoke.
You have to think back…
The risks from many dangerous materials can last decades. It is very important to tell your doctor about any potential risk factors, even if they were a long time ago.
Some common risk factors include:
What if none of these apply to me?
It might be that you have never smoked or been exposed to materials like asbestos or chemicals, however you can still get lung cancer. If you have symptoms described in this site and they worry you, go to your doctor.
I’ve got concerns… what do I do?
Don’t muck around,
book that doctor’s
When you talk to your doctor, it is important that you do not play down your symptoms. Be upfront and honest about how long you think you have had the symptoms, how it affects your life and whether you think they are changing or getting worse.
It is also important to talk about anything that might increase the chance of you having lung cancer. Such as whether you are, or have been a smoker or if you have worked in a job that exposed you to dangerous materials.
Asking questions is important too
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Covid 19 Symptoms. Unite against Covid 19. Available at www.covid19.govt.nz Accessed 16.06.2023.
Cancer Society. Understanding Lung Cancer. Available at www.cancer.org.nz Accessed on 28.04.2023.
Spyratos, D et al. J Thorac Dis 2013;5(S4):S440-S445.
De Mattels, S et al. International Journal of Epidemiology 2012;41:7 11–721.
Health & Safety Executive. Cancer & Construction. Available at www.hse.gov.uk Accessed on 07.07.2023.
Healthify. Lung Cancer. Available at www.healthify.co.nz Accessed 30.06.2023.
NHS Inform. Illnesses & Conditions. Available at www.nhsinform.scot Accessed 18.05.2023.
Department of the Prime Minister & Cabinet. Abestos Exposure in NZ. Available at www.dpmc.govt.nz Accessed on 26.05.2023.