Lung cancer: A small pupil in one of your eyes could be a sign of the deadly disease

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Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is a type of primary lung cancer, meaning cells began multiplying uncontrollably in the organ. Making up about 15 percent of cases, could your eyes warn you of the disease?

One surprising sign you might have lung cancer is if you have a small pupil in one of your eyes, testified WebMD.

The affected eye will have a droopy eyelid; this condition is known as Horner syndrome.

Horner syndrome

Due to nerve damage (which can be caused by Pancoast tumours), signs of the condition include:

  • A small pupil (the black circle in the middle of your eye)
  • Pupils that are different sizes
  • A pupil that doesn’t open (dilate) widely or is slow to open in dim light
  • Droopy upper eyelid
  • Lower eyelid that’s slightly raised
  • Sunken or bloodshot eye
  • No sweat on one side of your face

“Middle-aged men” may also experience pain or headaches alongside Horner syndrome.

What are Pancoast tumours?

Pancoast tumours are a rare type of lung cancer, explained WebMD. Moreover, they don’t cause the same symptoms as other types of lung cancers.

Instead, symptoms can include joint and muscle pain – especially in the shoulder and arm.

The muscles in the shoulders and arms may also feel weak if you’re affected by this type of cancer.

This occurs when the tumour spreads from the lungs to nearby areas, such as the nerves that connect the spine to the shoulders, arms and hands.

It can also move along to the tissue between the chest wall and diaphragm, the tissue surrounding the lungs, and the ribs.

Pain can worsen as the tumour grows, “pinching nerves and pushing on muscles”.

A person with this disease may feel an ache in their upper back, between the shoulder blades, and in the armpits.

Pancoast tumours can press on nerves that cause additional symptoms, such as flushing or sweating on one side of the face.

People can also experience numbness and tingling in the arms and hands.

How does Pancoast tumours cause Horner syndrome?

This occurs when the tumours “pinch the nerves linked to the eye and face”.

The symptoms of this rare type of cancer can be mistaken for other conditions.

Hence why a chest X-ray is typically the first inclination a doctor may have that you have a rare form of lung cancer.

A biopsy will be needed to make a certified cancer diagnosis following a scan.

Cancer Research UK explained treatment for a Pancoast tumour depends on the stage of the cancer, its position and your general health.

If you’re fit enough for surgery, you’ll usually undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy first.

This is to shrink the cancer before a team of specialist surgeons operate on you.

If the tumour can’t be removed via surgery, you might have chemoradiotherapy.

Medical News Today assured the once fatal condition now has an “improved outlook”.

The five-year survival rate is “54 percent to 77 percent”, but there is also a risk the cancer can come back.

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