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Lung cancer symptoms: Telltale sign on your fingertips that could lead to early diagnosis

By Malvika Padin

Lung cancer can spread more quickly than other forms of cancer, with nearly 40,000 people being diagnosed with the disease every year.

The danger with lung cancer is that symptoms often don't show up until after the dangerous cells have spread through the body. However, you might be able to spot a few early symptoms of the illness.

Some of the common symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing and a having persistent cough with blood or phlegm.

While many of the symptoms tend to be respiratory, there is one early telltale sign of lung cancer that appears on your fingertips - here's what you need to know.

What is the early sign of lung cancer on 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 have finger clubbing, which when the ends of your fingers swell up - and this could be a sign of lung cancer.

The condition happens in stages, starting at the base of the nail, which becomes soft. Then the skin next to the nail bed become shiny, after which the nails begin to curve more than normal when looked at from the side.

Finally, the of the fingers may get larger and swell due to fluid collecting in the soft tissues of the fingers.

While not having this diamond-shaped gap between fingernails doesn't automatically mean you have lung cancer, there is a possibility it's a symptom. So, the best course of action is to speak to your doctor if you spot it.

One lung cancer patient Brian Gemmell , whose only symptom of the disease was finger clubbing urges: "Go and see your doctor If you’ve got anything that you’re concerned about – that’s what a GP is for. Go as soon as you can.’"

Early detection can help you get treatment earlier, with West Lancashire-based GP Dr Helen Piercy advising: "If you notice any signs or symptoms that concern you, see your GP.

"First phone for an appointment. You will be assessed. You will be invited in, if you need to be seen face-to-face. Don’t be afraid. Pick up the phone."

What are the symptoms of lung cancer?

Other common symptoms of lung cancer include breathlessness, wheezing and coughing (Getty)

Lung cancer symptoms vary from person to person. Some people have numerous symptoms and others have none.

Common lung cancer symptoms to be aware include:

  • A persistent cough that lasts three weeks or more
  • Breathlessness
  • Wheezing
  • Frequent chest infections
  • A cough that changes or gets worse
  • Chest and/or shoulder pain
  • Coughing up blood or blood in your phlegm
  • Unexplained fatigue or lack of energy
  • Hoarseness
  • Swelling in 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.

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