It’s estimated that around 47,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer every year in the UK with one in 13 males and one in 15 females being diagnosed with lung cancer in their lifetime. The deadly disease starts when abnormal cells grow out of control in the lung. They can invade nearby tissues and form tumours and can start anywhere in the lungs.
The cancer cells can spread or metastasise to the lymph nodes and other parts of the body and affects any part of the respiratory system.
More obvious symptoms include a persistent cough, coughing up blood, persistent breathlessness, unexplained tiredness or weight loss and an ache or pain when breathing or coughing.
If a person experiences any of these signs they must speak with their GP immediately.
There are other less obvious symptoms linked to the disease and these lie in a person’s hands.
Lung cancer symptoms: The signs in the hands and fingers that could be a warning
Many people think symptoms of lung cancer affect their respiratory system, triggering coughs and affecting breathing.
These are the more common signs and symptoms of the deadly disease, but there are many others that often go overlooked.
The less common symptoms include swelling in the face or neck, difficulty swallowing or pain while swallowing and changes in the appearance of the hands or fingers.
Cancer Research UK said on their website: “Finger clubbing means specific changes in the shape of your fingers and fingernails.
“It is also called digital clubbing or Hippocratic fingers. People with heart or lung problems sometimes have these changes.
“Finger clubbing happens in more than three out of 10 people with non small cell lung cancer but only about four out of 100 people with small cell lung cancer.
“You may also get mesothelioma.”
Lung cancer symptoms: Finger clubbing is when the shape of the fingers and nails change
Other signs in the hand
Finger clubbing happens in stages and the base of the nail will become soft and the skin next to the nail bed becomes shiny.
Later, the nails could curve more than normal when looked at from the side, this is referred to as Scarmouth’s sign.
A later stage could include the ends of the fingers getting larger in appearance and are sometimes called drumstick fingers.
The NHS added: “Lung cancer mainly affects older people. It’s rare in people younger than 40. More than four out of ten people diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK are aged 75 and older.
“Although people who have never smoked can develop lung cancer, smoking is the most common cause, accounting for 72 percent of cases.”
If you, or someone you know has experienced any of these signs it’s crucial to speak with your GP about the possible causes.”