Which physical findings are characteristic of non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)?

Updated: Jul 15, 2021
  • Author: Winston W Tan, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Nagla Abdel Karim, MD, PhD  more...
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Answer

Numerous signs may be associated with NSCLC (see the image below). Extrapulmonary findings may include adenopathy and clubbing. Systemic findings may include unexplained weight loss and low-grade fever.

Non–small cell lung cancer. Symptoms and signs of Non–small cell lung cancer. Symptoms and signs of lung cancer.

In approximately two thirds to three fourths of patients, the cancer is not diagnosed until it has reached an advanced stage; patients may have lost weight and may have obvious respiratory distress. Subtle findings on physical examination may provide clues for early detection.


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