You are correct, the cough may be indistinguishable so you cannot rely on it as a symptom for lung cancer (odds are only the patient will know any significant change – but bear in mind that lung function also deteriorates over time, so the cough may get worse without any additional help from cancer or another disease). There is also no clear strategy how to detect cancer early at the present time. There is current interest in doing regular low dose CT scans, but the present experience is not compelling. The only good strategy is to eliminate smoking. Talk to your doctor about your concerns and come up with a strategy that is acceptable to you.
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