Cancer: Palpitations may signal a tumour putting pressure on the heart – ‘easy to dismiss’

Cancer symptoms: Top 14 early signs to look out for

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There are over 200 types of cancer, and the one with the deadliest reputation is lung cancer. Unfortunately, the disease rarely produces warning signs in the initial stages, making it difficult to catch while it is still manageable. According to one UCLA expert, a lesser-known sign of the potentially deadly disease may be heart palpitations.

UCLA Health explains that the warning signs of lung cancer aren’t always evident in the initial stages of the disease.

According to Doctor Solomon Hamburg, UCLA oncologist in Beverly Hills, symptoms can also be “fairly easy to dismiss”.

He continued: “You might have a persistent cough, feel shortness of breath or lose weight without trying.

“Some people develop heart palpitations from the lungs putting pressure on the heart.”

READ MORE: Cancer symptoms: The ‘feeling’ that strikes first thing in the morning – it’s a red flag

What’s more, by the time more troubling symptoms appear, such as recurrent pneumonia or bronchitis, the disease has likely already spread.

According to European Cardiology Review (ECR), palpitations are a common occurrence in people with cancer.

They are defined as a rapid pulsation or abnormally rapid or irregular beating of the heart.

The ECR adds that they present a complex diagnostic entity with no evidence-based guidelines currently available.

Since palpitations are a rare warning sign of lung cancer, doctors recommend staying on the lookout for other warning signs of the disease.

These can include a chest infection that persists, coughing up blood, or an ache when breathing and coughing.

Clubbing of the fingers also occurs in 35 percent of people with non-small cell lung cancer.

In finger clubbing, the ends of the fingers swell up in stages, according to the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.

The body adds: “First, the base of the nail becomes soft and the skin next to the nail bed becomes shiny.

“Next, the nails begin to curve more than normal when looked at from the side.

“Finally, the ends of the fingers may swell; it’s thought to be caused by fluid collecting in the soft tissues of the fingers.”

What causes lung cancer?

Lung cancer typically occurs when a cancer-causing agent triggers the growth of abnormal cells in the lung, according to Harvard Health.

In most lung cancer cases, the carcinogen that prompts tumour growth is cigarette smoke.

“However, relatively more lung cancers are being diagnosed in people who don’t smoke. But this still accounts for a minority of new cases,” adds Harvard Health.

Radon exposure is the second-leading cause of lung cancer, followed by exposure to toxic chemicals.

Because the disease rarely produces warning signs in the initial stages, at-risk patients are advised to regularly get checked by a health practitioner.

Lung cancer screening offers the best hope for catching the disease when it is still easy to treat.

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