Lung Cancer: This Simple Finger Test Could Help Identify Condition

Early diagnosis of lung cancer can increase one’s chances of surviving. However, identifying the disease in its earliest stages can be difficult because symptoms may not occur or in some cases appear similar to those of other respiratory conditions. 

Lung cancer cells can travel from one organ to another. If other parts of the body become affected, treatments also become limited and less effective. 

The American Cancer Society estimates that nearly 228,150 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2019. Among all cases, the organization expects the disease to cause 142,670 deaths within the year. 

But further deaths may be prevented with a simple test at home. The test, called the Schamroth window test or window gap test, only requires putting fingers together to find potential signs of lung cancer. 

The test aims to identify finger clubbing. People with this condition appear with soft and swelling fingers and nails, which may indicate the development of lung cancer, The Daily Record reported Wednesday.

The Cancer Research UK said finger clubbing occurs in more than 35 percent of people with non-small cell lung cancer. To see if you have the disease, press your index fingers together with the nails against each other. 

Check if a small diamond shaped window will form between the fingers. People without lung cancer normally have the diamond gap. 

"Clubbing is thought to be caused by fluid collecting in the soft tissues at the end of the fingers,” Cancer Research UK said. “This is caused by more blood flowing to the area than usual.”

However, the organization noted the medical community has yet to understand how lung cancer directly causes changes on fingers. Theory suggests the tumors potentially release certain chemicals or hormones that reach the hands. 

If you think you have finger clubbing, you should meet a doctor to check your condition. 

"Finger clubbing is unusual. If you have it and are worried, do speak to your doctor,” Cancer Research UK advised. “They should send you for a chest x-ray to check your heart and lungs."