Registered Nurse (RN)
Medical Surgical Nursing & Pathophysiology
Cancer Assessments
Lung Cancer Assessment

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Lung Cancer Assessment

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Lung Cancer Assessment

Lungs and Tumor-guy with Assess-man
Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in men and women and may not initially present with symptoms. Often, the classic symptoms of lung cancer aren’t seen until later in disease, as the tumor progresses in size. Patients can display chronic cough, hemoptysis, and hoarseness due to laryngeal nerve involvement. Chest pain may be present, and on exam patients can display abnormal breath sounds due to the development of pneumonia or effusion.
2nd Most Common Cancer
#2 Peace-sign

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men (after prostate cancer) and women (after breast cancer). African-American heritage and a history of smoking are predisposing factors towards developing lung cancer.

Chronic Cough
Crone and Coughing Coffee-pot

The most common symptom of lung cancer is chronic, persistent cough. This can also be concurrent with wheezing and dyspnea.


As the lung cancer progresses, hoarseness can also be experienced. This is a result of laryngeal nerve involvement or compression by the tumor.

Abnormal Breath Sounds
Abnormal Breath Sound-waves

Depending on what part of the lung is involved in malignancy, patients may display abnormal breath sounds. This can manifest as dull lung sounds (effusion) or crackles (lobar pneumonia).

Red-mop coughing blood

Patients may produce blood-tinged sputum and can report coughing up blood, known as hemoptysis. This is a very common sign of respiratory malignancy.

Chest Pain
Chest Pain-bolt

Another sign of lung cancer is chest pain, which is not always present. It can range from mild to severe pain and can be localized or unilateral.

Anorexia or Weight Loss
Anorexic-rex in Baggy-pants

Due to physical obstruction or diaphragm paralysis, patients can complain of anorexia. Later in disease patients can report weight loss, and this is a common sign of malignancy.

Symptoms Appear Late in Disease
Symptoms Appearing with Late-moon

Patients typically show symptoms of lung cancer late in disease, as the tumor gets progressively larger. Thus, anorexia, cough, hoarseness and chest pain may not be present in early stages of cancer. Often, lung cancers that are found early are incidental findings on routine X-rays.


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