Cancer: Symptoms of advanced lung cancer may include lesions and pain in the tongue

Lung cancer: Dr Amir describes the symptoms

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There are more than 100 different types of cancer, so keeping abreast of the symptoms is no easy task. What’s more, the warning signs rarely reflect the diseased organ; or at times are too subtle to notice. One disease known to produce wide-ranging symptoms is cancer of the lung, which produces signs in the nails and tongue. According to some health bodies, difficulty swallowing, lesions and pain in the tongue may all be symptoms of the disease.

Lung cancer occurs when cells inside the lungs turn rogue and proliferate dangerously, severely affecting the body’s airways.

As the opening point to the respiratory tract, the mouth can often present warning signs of underlying damage.

Some typical signs of lung cancer associated with the mouth include dryness and sensitivity.

But previous case studies have brought other complications to light, which include pain, lesions and difficulty swallowing.

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In a 2017 case report published in journal Medicine, researchers wrote: “Primary lung cancer usually presents as an airway mucous membrane irritation, such as a cough and blood-stained sputum, whereas primary tongue carcinoma usually presents with tongue lesions, pain and dysphagia.”

In the report, researchers presented the plight of a patient who complained of a cough and bloody saliva before noticing a pain and hoarseness at the bottom of his tongue.

Dysphagia, which is defined as difficult swallowing, is counted among the more painful manifestations of lung cancer.

Researchers believe it may occur as the cancer compresses the oesophagus and the pharynx.

The disease was later diagnosed as a metastatic tumour from lung cancer, which had spread to the oral cavity.

It should be noted however, that lung cancer metastasis rarely occurs, while metastasis to the brain, liver or bone is more common.

The disease is notoriously difficult to treat once it has metastasised, so experts recommend getting any bodily changes investigated early.

Non-small cell lung cancer can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy or a combination of these treatments.

Now a new drug named AFM24 has shown effectiveness in treating bowel and lung cancer patients too.

Professor Ian Collins is the head of the new Centre for Protein Degradation, which will be dedicated to using the novel technique.

Unlike other treatments, which block harmful proteins, AFM24 works by redirecting the body’s immune system to kill cancer cells.

Professor Collins noted: “Our cells have evolved a highly efficient technique for removing harmful proteins.

“It’s part of the everyday business of life. However, our cells’ protein degradation processes only recognise a specific number of proteins.

“Science has now found a way to add to that number – to put flags on to new proteins that the cell wouldn’t otherwise touch but which we now realise are harmful and involved in tumour development.”

The new technique is set to be used by the Centre for Protein Degradation, which has been founded using a £9m donation to the Institute of Cancer Research.

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