A simple finger test can help diagnose lung cancer. Here’s the telltale sign at your fingertips that could be an early symptom of lung cancer, as well as the first steps in treatment
Lung cancer can spread faster than other types of cancer, with nearly 40,000 people being diagnosed with the disease each year.
The danger with lung cancer is that symptoms often only appear after the dangerous cells have spread throughout the body. However, you may be able to spot some early symptoms of the disease.
Some of the most common symptoms are shortness of breath, wheezing, and a persistent cough with blood or phlegm.
While many of the symptoms are usually respiratory in nature, there is one early telltale sign of lung cancer that appears at your fingertips – here’s what you need to know.
What is the early sign of lung cancer on the fingertips?
When you press your fingernails together, do you see a tiny diamond-shaped window of light?
If you can’t see this gap, you could be finger clubbing, which is when your fingertips swell – and this could be a sign of lung cancer.
The condition occurs gradually, starting at the base of the nail, which becomes soft. Then the skin next to the nail bed becomes shiny, after which the nails curve more than normal when viewed from the side.
Eventually, the fingers of the fingers may become larger and swollen due to fluid buildup in the soft tissues of the fingers.
While missing that diamond-shaped gap between your fingernails doesn’t automatically mean you have lung cancer, there’s a chance it’s a symptom. So it’s best to talk to your doctor if you notice it.
One lung cancer patient, Brian Gemmell, whose only symptom of the disease was finger smacks, urges: ‘Go to your doctor if you’re worried – that’s what a GP is for. Go as fast as you can.’”
Early detection can help you get treatment sooner, with West Lancashire-based GP Dr. Helen Piercy advises: “If you notice any signs or symptoms that worry you, contact your GP.
“Call first to make an appointment. You will be examined. You will be invited if you need to be seen in person. Do not be afraid. Pick up the phone.”
What are the symptoms of lung cancer?
Lung cancer symptoms vary from person to person. Some people have numerous symptoms and others have none.
Common lung cancer symptoms to look out for include:
- A persistent cough that lasts three weeks or more
- Frequent chest infections
- A cough that changes or gets worse
- chest and/or shoulder pain
- coughing up blood or blood in phlegm
- Unexplained tiredness or lack of energy
- swelling of the face or neck.
These signs don’t always mean you have lung cancer, but it’s best to consult your GP if you have any of the above concerns.