Health

Lung cancer warning – how to reveal your risk of a tumour by checking your spit

Lung cancer is one of the most serious types of cancer to be diagnosed, as it's usually difficult to spot until it has spread to other parts of the body. You could be at risk of the disease if you develop rust-coloured spit, it's been revealed.

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers to be diagnosed in the UK, warned the NHS.

Around 45,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK every year.

Signs of the disease only tend to reveal themselves once the cancer has spread through the lungs.

One of the key symptoms of lung cancer is a subtle change to the colour of your sputum.

Lung cancer patients may find that they cough up brown/red-coloured spit.

They're more likely to have a particularly bad cough, which is accompanied by coughing up blood or sputum.

Sputum is a combination of both saliva and mucus that originates in the respiratory tract.

If you have a bad cough, it's crucial that you check the colour of your sputum.

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"Lung cancer can often go unnoticed, as many patients experience no symptoms at first," said Bupa UK.

"The most common sign of the condition is a persistent cough that gets worse over time, coughing up blood or rust-coloured sputum [spit].

"Other common symptoms to be aware of include chest pain that is often worse with deep breathing, recurrent chest infections, tiredness, or losing weight for no obvious reason.

"There are other, more unusual, signs to watch out for including swelling in the face or neck, hoarseness and swollen finger tips (commonly known as clubbing)."


Sputum is generally produced when there's a problem with the lungs.

It's made to protect delicate tissue in the respiratory tract from small particles that could cause even further damage.

But just because you develop sputum, it doesn't necessarily mean that you have lung cancer.

Sputum may be produced if you have the flu, asthma, or even bronchitis.

Lung cancer symptoms include a cough that won't go away, coughing up blood, difficulty breathing, and having an ache or pain while breathing.

The outlook for lung cancer isn't as good as other types of cancer, as the symptoms are usually only spotted in its later stages.

About one in three patients live for at least a year after their diagnosis, while one in 20 live for another 10 years.

Around 45,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK every year.



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