Learn about lung cancer

Lung cancer is the third most common cancer in the UK and the most common cause of cancer death in the UK. Find out what the signs and symptoms are for Lung Cancer Awareness Month.
Cartoon lungs 'smiling' and holding a balloon that says, 'Breathe freely.'

Anyone can develop lung cancer. Men and women, young and old, smokers and non-smokers.

If you have lungs, you can get the disease, so it is very important everyone is aware of lung cancer signs and symptoms.

Signs & symptoms

There are many different symptoms of lung cancer. Some symptoms, such as a persistent cough, are more common and widely recognised than others like clubbed fingers.

  • Persistent cough that lasts three weeks or more
  • Breathlessness
  • Repeat chest infections
  • Chest and/or shoulder pain
  • Loss of appetite and/or unexplained weight loss
  • Change in a long term cough, or a cough that gets worse
  • Coughing up blood
  • Unexplained fatigue or lack of energy
  • Hoarseness
  • Finger clubbing
  • Blood clots

You know your body better than anybody and if you feel that something is not right then contact your GP. Keep pushing until you get answers.

What happens next?

  1. Discuss your symptoms with your doctor. 
  2. Your doctor will examine you.
  3. Your doctor may arrange for you to have a chest x-ray and will then talk your through your results.
  4. If you need more tests, your doctor should make an appointment for you to see a lung specialist. If you are diagnosed with lung cancer, you will be referred on to a lung cancer team for treatment and care.
  5. If your doctor does not send you for an x-ray, or your x-ray is clear, but your symptoms continue or get worse, ask to see your doctor again.

You should never feel like you can’t go to your doctor if you are concerned about your health. Anyone can get this disease. Young and old, men and women, smoker and non-smoker – if you have lungs, you can get lung cancer.

Explain to your doctor how anxious you are and don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion if you feel your concerns are not being addressed.

Get support

If you're living with lung cancer or affected by lung cancer in any way, there's lots of advice and support out there.

Looking for information about health and care?

Find advice and information to help you stay well and make decisions about your health and social care support.

Find advice and information