With the change from summer to fall and winter comes cold symptoms such as runny noses, sore throats, and coughing. Symptoms like these are a part of being sick; however, prolonged and intense coughing can be an indicator of something more serious than the common cold.

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, a time to know the facts about this disease and what to look for.

There are two types of lung cancer:

  • Non-small cell: This is the most common type of lung cancer, and accounts for about 90 percent of lung cancers.
    • We now know that there are many types of non-small cell lung cancer which can be grouped based on distinct genetic abnormalities. These lung cancers are important to find as it makes patients candidates for targeted or personalized therapies.
  • Small Cell: About 10 to 15 percent of lung cancers is small cell. This type is more difficult to treat, as it grows and spreads more quickly.

Unfortunately, symptoms of lung cancer usually don’t appear until the disease is advanced, so it is important to talk to your doctor about anything you find unusual or think is more than just a cold.

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Lung Cancer Symptoms

Symptoms you should be aware of include:

  • Pain in the chest, back, or shoulder
  • Shortness of breath
  • Recurrent pneumonia
  • Color change in mucus
  • A cough that will not go away
  • Coughing up blood or phlegm

However, not all lung cancer symptoms happen in the chest. The following are also symptoms of lung cancer:

  • Neck of facial swelling
  • Fatigue
  • Body and muscle aches and weakness
  • Unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite

So whether you’re prepping for Thanksgiving dinner, or cutting coupons for Black Friday shopping, be aware of typical cold symptoms that get worse or persist, because they may be an indicator of something more serious. To learn more about lung cancer, contact your doctor or visit UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.

Don’t forget to wear your white to support Lung Cancer Awareness Month!

About UPMC

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, UPMC is a world-renowned health care provider and insurer. We operate 40 hospitals and 800 doctors’ offices and outpatient centers, with locations throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, West Virginia, and internationally. We employ 4,900 physicians, and we are leaders in clinical care, groundbreaking research, and treatment breakthroughs. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside as one of the nation’s best hospitals in many specialties and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals. We are dedicated to providing Life Changing Medicine to our communities.