Lung cancer symptoms usually go undetected during the early stages, according to experts. Weight loss, breathlessness and coughing are some the initial symptoms of the condition, according to the Pneumology and Respiratory Medicine's Professor Dieter Koehler. The other symptoms are the clubbed finger, swollen fingertips, and chest pain.
An X-ray, an endoscopic examination of the lungs or an analysis of the mucus the patient coughs up are ways of determining whether the patient has lung cancer, said Michael Barczok of the German Federal Association of Pneumologists in Heideheim. People at greatest risk of lung cancer are current and former smokers, as well as people whose relatives have already developed lung cancer or chronic obstructive lung diseases, experts say. The risk of getting a bronchial cancer is two to three times greater among people who have a biological relative who had lung cancer, Koehler said.
The disease usually begins at a younger age among people with a genetic disposition, according to Koehler, like for instance at the age of 50 rather than 70 years. The earlier the disease is detected, the better the survival rate. Only 15% of the people aged 70 or older who are diagnosed with the disease are still alive five years later. Lung cancer is the cause of death of more than 40,000 people annually in Germany, making it one of the most common malignancies.