Lung cancer develops when certain cells escape from the body’s control and start to change. These abnormal cells, also called cancer cells, start to increase and grow to form a lump known as a tumour. Anyone can develop lung cancer, but those who smoke or used to smoke are at a much higher risk – 90 per cent of cases of lung cancer occur in smokers. Early symptoms should be spotted and discussed with your GP and this very unusual symptom should not be ignored.
Having swollen fingers and nails is an unusual symptom of lung cancer and is caused by the lung tumour making hormone-like chemicals.
One of these chemicals pushes more blood and fluid to the tissues in the fingertips making them appear thicker and larger than usual.
The nails may also appear shiny or may curve more than usual when looking at it from the side. Known medically as hypertrophic Pulmonary Osteoarthropathy (HPOA), or clubbing, it affects about five out of every 100 people with cancer, according to Cancer Research UK.
It states: “HPOA most often causes inflammation of bones and joints in the wrists and ankles.
Sometimes this shows up on bone scans or x-rays.
One of the most common symptoms of HPOA is a condition known as clubbing, which means the fingers and toes broaden at the ends, and the nails curve and thicken
Cancer Research UK
One of the most common symptoms of HPOA is a condition known as clubbing, which means the fingers and toes broaden at the ends, and the nails curve and thicken.”
Finger clubbing is strongly linked to lung cancer and if you notice your fingers and nails have changed recently it is strongly advised to see your GP to discuss further.
Treatment of lung cancer depends on the size, position and stage of the cancer and the person’s health.
Treatments include either radiotherapy, systematic anti-cancer therapies, surgery, supportive care cryotherapy, photodynamic therapy or ablation.
Other unusual symptoms of lung cancer are having a croaky voice that does not go away or having mouth ulcers which last a long time.
Other symptoms of lung cancer:
- A long standing cough that won’t go away
- Coughing up blood
- Persistent breathlessness
- Lack of energy
- Unexplained weight loss
- An ache or pain when you cough
If your GP suspects you might have lung cancer, you will be referred to a special clinic called the rapid access clinic or urgent cancer clinic and should take place within two weeks of being referred.
Being diagnosed with lung cancer can be frightening and it is advisable to speak with family, friends or a councillor.
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