One of the things that makes identifying health issues so tricky is that the signs for any given illness can be different for men and women. That’s why it’s important to stay aware of the symptoms and signs that illnesses may present for your gender.

Case in point: for women, the signs of lung cancer are often less apparent than those for men. Keeping an eye out for any combination of these subtle symptoms could help you identify cancer before it becomes a much bigger issue.

1. Shortness of breath: Everybody knows what it feels like to be short of breath after exercising or exerting yourself, but if you find that simple activities like getting out of bed in the morning leave you winded, it could be a sign of a bigger issue.

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2. Chronic fatigue: Excessive tiredness when you routinely get a full night’s sleep could be a sign of anything from cancer to lupus. If no amount of sleep seems to cure your fatigue, talk to a doctor about your symptoms.

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3. Constant coughing: If your cough won’t go away, it means there’s a persistent irritation in your lungs. The actual cause could be anything from an allergy to an infection, but since frequent coughing is a sign of all forms of lung cancer, it’s worth seeing a doctor to discuss it.

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4. Back and shoulder pain: We don’t often associate back and shoulder pain with the lungs, but women are at especially high risk of developing adenocarcinomas, which forms on the outer-lung tissue and puts pressure on the shoulder blades and spine.

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5. Hoarse voice: A little hoarseness every now and then is nothing to be concerned about, but if your voice is persistently affected over a matter of weeks with no obvious cause like a smoking habit, it could be a serious sign, and you should speak to your doctor about it.

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6. Weight loss: If you have a loss of appetite and begin rapidly losing weight, it’s definitely a sign that something is amiss. It may or may not be cancer, but you should address the problem with your doctor regardless.

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7. Trouble swallowing: If you’ve recently had a cold, a little swelling of the throat is normal, but if you consistently have throat pain that causes trouble drinking or eating, there may be something more serious causing the swelling and your doctor can eliminate possible causes.

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8. Chest pain: As noted with regard to back pain, adenocarcinomas often have different symptoms than other forms of lung cancer, and women are more prone to developing them. Chest pain could indicate that the lining of your lungs is inflamed, and you see should see a doctor about your symptoms right away.

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Remember, always be sure to address any unusual symptoms with a doctor before changing your routine or starting any treatments!

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