Early-stage lung cancer usually causes no symptoms, notes WebMD. When symptoms begin to occur, it is generally because of the cancer's spread into the lung or blockage of breathing passages while a chronic, hacking coughing, expulsion of blood-streaked mucus, chronic pneumonia or bronchitis and increasing wheezing and shortness of breath are symptoms of lung cancer as it begins to advance. It may also cause hoarseness, swelling of the face and neck, difficulty swallowing, fatigue, loss of weight, body pain and pain in the shoulder, hand or arm.
A reduction in appetite, severe headache, intermittent fever and persistent chest pain are additional symptoms, notes WebMD. Although all persistent symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional, chronic cough, blood-streaked mucus, hoarseness, wheezing and recurring lung infection requires tests to rule out lung cancer. Various tests can determine if cancer is present, including chest X-ray studies, CT scans and MRIs. If cancer is suspected, additional tests include sputum testing to examine the cells in the sputum for cancer, bronchoscopy to observe the lungs, and needle biopsy to determine if any growths on the lung are cancerous. Lung cancer is often treated using surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination of two or more of these treatment options.