Lung cancer symptom awareness

The chance of surviving lung cancer is best when the cancer is found early.

Knowing the symptoms and changes to look out for is key to finding lung cancers before they grow or spread.

Symptoms and early detection during COVID-19

Lung cancer can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can be non-specific and masked by other diseases. Lung cancer also shares a hallmark symptom to COVID-19, specifically, a persistent cough. 

If you have one or more of the following symptoms, please see your doctor as soon as possible - because cancer doesn't wait for COVID-19:

  • persistent cough (lasting longer than three weeks)
  • change in cough
  • coughing up blood.

If people close to you have any of these symptoms, please also urge them to take action.

It’s important to remember lung cancer does not only occur in people recognised as high risk, including whether you are a smoker or not.

In Australia one in three women and one in ten men diagnosed with lung cancer have no history of smoking1.

Everybody needs to look for the symptoms.

Information for health professionals

When treating patients, health professionals are also encouraged to act quickly on lung cancer symptoms. They should:

  • Maintain a high suspicion of lung cancer and investigate suggestive symptoms early.
  • Ensure prompt investigation and quick referral to specialist assessment for anyone presenting with suggestive symptoms.
  • Find out more about how to investigate symptoms suggestive of lung cancer with Cancer Australia’s guide for GPs on Investigating Symptoms of Lung Cancer.

I have lung cancer - what's next?

I have lung cancer - what's next?

Regardless of the outlook, ask your doctor to refer you to a specialist multidisciplinary team (MDT), who can provide effective treatment options and cancer care.

Find tips about what to ask your doctor when diagnosed.

Look up lung cancer specialists and MDTs in NSW and the ACT on Canrefer—cancer referral network.

Access more lung cancer patient information from the Cancer Council NSW.


1 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare & Cancer Australia, Lung cancer in Australia: an overview(Canberra: AIHW, 2011)