Lung cancer is one of the most common and serious types of cancer. Some 50,000 people are diagnosed each year, with the main symptom being a cough that won’t go away. However, your fingernails could also hold clues pertaining to your risk.
According to the US National Library of Medicine, clubbing often occurs when diseases reduce the amount of oxygen in the blood.
It can be caused by things like heart defects, chronic lung infections and Celiac disease.
Common symptoms of clubbing include nail beds softening, nails beginning to form at a sharper angle, finger redness and swelling and nails curving downward.
Cancer Research UK warns: “This is sometimes mistaken for arthritis and is called hypertrophic pulmonary osteoarthropathy (HPOA).”
Finger clubbing is though to be caused by fluid collecting in the soft tissues at the ends of the fingers.
The cancer charity explains: “This is caused by more blood flowing to the area than usual. But we don’t fully understand why this happens.
“It may be due to the tumour producing particular chemicals or hormones (this is called a paraneoplastic syndrome).”
Am I at risk?
There are some lifestyle and environmental factors that can increase your risk of developing lung cancer.
One of the gravest is smoking tobacco, according to Cancer Research UK.
According to the charity, around seven out of 10 lung cancers are caused by smoking.
Some substances also increase the risk of lung cancer.
“These include asbestos, silica, and diesel exhaust. People can be exposed to these through their work,” explains Cancer Research UK.