Raising awareness of lung cancer symptoms

Date published: 23 November 2018

Lung cancer is more common among smokers, but non-smokers can also develop the disease. It's important to know the signs and symptoms. If you smoke, think about quitting, no matter how long you have been smoking.

Signs and symptoms

Using other types of tobacco products such as cigars, pipe tobacco and chewing tobacco can also increase your risk of developing cancer. 

Every year that you don't smoke, your risk of getting serious illnesses such as lung cancer will decrease.

Early detection and diagnosis of lung cancer is important, as treatment can be more effective and chances of survival can be improved. Symptoms may include:

  • a persistent cough
  • a sudden change in a cough that you have had for a long time
  • unexplained weight loss
  • breathlessness
  • chest pain - this is usually intermittent (stop-start) and is often made worse when breathing or coughing
  • coughing up blood-stained phlegm

You should always visit your GP urgently if you experience any of the symptoms listed above, even if you don't smoke. Around 12 per cent of people with lung cancer have never smoked.

You can find out more, including other signs and symptoms, on the lung cancer page.

Quitting smoking

It is never too late to stop smoking, but the earlier you stop, the better. Smokers who stop for 28 days or more are five time times more likely to stop for good.

However, it is not easy and different approaches will work for different people. While some people might be able to do it with very little support, others find that planning ahead and making use of the free stop smoking services that are available can really help them make the decision permanent.

You can get more information at the link below:

If you quit and then start smoking again, accept it, work out why it happened, and focus on how you can avoid it in the future.

It takes several efforts for many people to quit for good, but if you are determined, you will do it.

More useful links

Share this page


Your comments are anonymous and can’t be responded to - if you would like a reply, use the feedback form.

Your comments
Plain text only, 750 characters maximum. Don't include personal or financial information.