Lung cancer is one of the most common and serious types of cancer. Around 47,000 people are diagnosed with the condition every year in the UK. Unfortunately, lung cancer is not usually picked up until the cancer cells have multiplied and spread to neighbouring areas.
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When this happens, the body often responds in unsettling ways.
There are a number of distinctive warning signs that may crop up on your face if you have a pancoast tumour.
According to Cancer Research UK, a pancoast tumour is a very rare type of lung cancer growing right at the top of the lung.
As the charity explains, pancoast tumours can also cause a collection of symptoms called Horner’s syndrome.
Drooping or weakness of one eyelid is a symptom of Horner’s syndrome.
Other symptoms on your face include:
- A small pupil in the same eye
- Loss of sweating on one side of the face
What causes these symptoms? According to Cancer Research UK, the symptoms of Horner’s syndrome are caused by the tumour pressing on or damaging a nerve that runs up from the neck to that side of the face.
It is important to note that since a pancoast tumour is a relatively rare form of cancer, most people will not experience these symptoms.
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As the NHS outlines, the main symptoms associated with lung cancer are:
- A cough that doesn’t go away after two or three weeks
- A long-standing cough that gets worse
- Chest infections that keep coming back
- Coughing up blood
- An ache or pain when breathing or coughing
- Persistent breathlessness
- Persistent tiredness or lack of energy
- Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss
How to get diagnosed
“See a GP if you have symptoms of lung cancer, such as breathlessness or a persistent cough,” advises the health body.
The GP will ask about your general health and your symptoms.
They may examine you and ask you to breathe into a device called a spirometer, which measures how much air you breathe in and out, the NHS explains.
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Following routine blood tests, a chest X-ray is usually the first test, which is followed up by a CT scan and then a PET-CT scan if results of a CT scan show you have cancer at an early stage, says the health body.
Your treatment depends on the type of lung cancer, where it is, it’s size, whether it has spread, and your general health.
The most common treatment options include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
Am I at risk?
There are some factors that can increase your risk of developing lung cancer.
The most serious risk factor is smoking tobacco, which accounts for around seven out of 10 lung cancers, according to Cancer Research UK.
This includes breathing in other people’s cigarette smoke.
As an added incentive to quit, your risk increases more the longer you smoke and the more you smoke, warns Cancer Research UK.
“Your risk of lung cancer is higher if you have a close relative (such as a parent or sibling) who has had lung cancer,” adds the charity.
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