Shortness of breath
Similar to many other lung problems, lung cancer results in difficulty to take a deep breath and the annoying sensation that one is not breathing deep enough. This is called shortness of breath, and it is prevalent in patients with lung cancer. However, we can find the same symptom in various infections of the respiratory tract.
In lung cancer, there’s a common condition called atelectasis, and it often appears early in the development of cancer. These patients have dyspnea or difficulty to breathe because atelectasis is a shrinking of the air sacks in the lung. Instead of being full of air, they collapse as the tumour grows and push them apart.
Patients with mild symptoms would have discomfort upon breathing, and severe symptoms include anxious and rapid breathing with respiratory wheezing. Even if we suspect and find atelectasis in an X-ray, we should rule out various causes like pneumonia, scarring after past surgery, and others.