Your fingertips may hold the key to an early sign of the onset of lung cancer. Some 40,000 people are diagnosed with the disease every year, with common symptoms including shortness of breath, wheezing and having a persistent cough with blood or phlegm.

However, The Mirror reports that a simple test may help to reveal the disease early on. When you press your fingernails together you should be able to see a tiny diamond-shaped window of light.

If you can’t see the gap, you could have finger clubbing, which is when the ends of your fingers swell up – and this could be a sign of lung cancer. The condition happens in stages, starting at the base of the nail, which becomes soft.

Then the skin next to the nail bed becomes shiny, after which the nails begin to curve more than normal when looked at from the side. Finally, the fingers may get larger and swell due to fluid collecting in the soft tissues of the fingers.

While not having this diamond-shaped gap between fingernails doesn’t automatically mean you have lung cancer, there is a possibility it’s a symptom. So, the best course of action is to speak to your doctor if you spot it.

Lung cancer patient Brian Gemmell, whose only symptom of the disease was finger clubbing, said: “Go and see your doctor If you’ve got anything that you’re concerned about – that’s what a GP is for. Go as soon as you can.’”

Early detection can help you get treatment earlier. West Lancashire-based GP Dr Helen Piercy said: “If you notice any signs or symptoms that concern you, see your GP.

“First phone for an appointment. You will be assessed, you will be invited in if you need to be seen face to face.

“Don’t be afraid. Pick up the phone.”

Lung cancer symptoms vary, with some people having numerous while others have none. Common symptoms include: a persistent cough that lasts three weeks or more; breathlessness; wheezing; frequent chest infections; a cough that changes or gets worse; chest and/or shoulder pain; coughing up blood or blood in your phlegm; unexplained fatigue or lack of energy; hoarseness, and a swelling in the face or neck.

These signs don’t always mean you have lung cancer. However, it’s best to consult your GP if you have any of the above concerns.

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