Cancer symptoms: ‘Warning signs’ in your voice – a tumour can ‘interfere’ with vocal cords

Cancer symptoms: ‘Warning signs’ in your voice – a tumour can ‘interfere’ with vocal cords

Dr Chris discusses CT scans detecting lung cancer

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The NHS says that there are usually no signs or symptoms in the early stages, though symptoms of lung cancer develop as the condition progresses. Around 45 out of 100 people diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK are aged 75 and older, according to Cancer Research UK.

Johns Hopkins University says that a sign in your voice of lung cancer is “hoarseness”.

“Chronic coughing or a tumour that interferes with the vocal cords can cause people with lung cancer to have a raspy voice,” it says.

Cancer Research UK says that finding lung cancer early can mean that it’s easier to treat, so if you notice any changes get them checked out by your GP as soon as possible.

Indeed, Johns Hopkins University states: “Catching lung cancer early and treating it quickly leads to the best hope of beating the disease. But, most often, lung cancer waits to show signs and symptoms until the cancer is in advanced stages, when it’s harder to treat.”

Cancer Research says that the most common symptoms of lung cancer are having a cough most of the time, having a change in a cough you have had for a long time, and chest infections that keep coming back or a chest infection that doesn’t get better.

The charity adds that losing your appetite, feeling tired all the time, and losing weight are all signs.

“A cough is also a symptom of coronavirus. It is still important to contact your GP if you have a new or worsening cough.

“They can speak to you over the phone or by a video call and arrange for tests if you need them.”


The NHS “Help Us, Help You” lung cancer campaign urges people who’ve had a cough for three weeks or more, and it isn’t COVID-19, to contact their GP practice.

The NHS campaign highlights that, though it’s probably nothing serious, coughing for three weeks or more could be a sign of lung cancer, and finding cancer early makes it more treatable.

The NHS has outlined some less common symptoms of lung cancer, which some people may not be aware of.

These actually include changes in the appearance of your fingers, such as becoming more curved or their ends becoming larger. This is known as finger clubbing. Some people may also notice swelling of their face or neck, or persistent chest or shoulder pain.

There are some factors that can increase your risk of developing lung cancer.

Smoking tobacco is the biggest cause of lung cancer in the UK. Cancer Research says seven out of 10 lung cancers are caused by smoking.

The NHS says If you smoke more than 25 cigarettes a day, you are 25 times more likely to get lung cancer than a non-smoker.

If you do not smoke, frequent exposure to other people’s smoking can increase your risk of developing lung cancer.

Your risk of lung cancer is higher if you have a close relative (such as a parent or sibling) who has had lung cancer.

Exposure to certain chemicals and substances which are used in several occupations and industries may increase your risk of developing lung cancer.

Previous lung diseases can increase your risk of lung cancer. These risks are usually higher in smokers.

Once tests have been completed, it should be possible for doctors to know what stage your cancer is, what this means for your treatment and whether it’s possible to completely cure the cancer.

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