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British Lung Foundation
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still worried

Hi. Basically i am falling Apart. Had a cough for 3 months, well not a cough a tickle in the throat. Been to doctors they have done tests x rays clean, but its not taken away the symptoms now i have shoulder and arm pain that comes and goes been going on for days now. I am constantly coughing into a tissue to see if i am coughing up blood and i am coughing up something, but not sure what it is. I am so sure i have lung cancer and they have missed something, but nobody is listening 38 and i am living in hell and i am sure my husband is going to divorce me. Please help me.

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48 Replies

Hello Melrose,

Please try and calm yourself. What makes you so sure this could be lung cancer? Is there a family history of cancer? Have you already been treated for another cancer?Have you been referred to a consultant chest physician? If not I would ask your Doc to refer you. Make an appointment to see your Doc tomorrow. You may then get somewhere. Whatever you do go to see your Doc about the shoulder and arm pain if you haven't already done so. It may not be connected but then again it may be. If I was you and as worried as you obviously are then I would make an emergency appointment with your Doc tomorrow morning and explain the situation - even about your husband possibly divorcing you lol. I wouldn't wait for a routine appointment as you are so worried it is affecting your private life. Here I would wait at least 2 weeks for a routine appointment 3 or 4 weeks if I wanted the appointment with a particular doctor. If what you say is true then I am amazed your husband hasn't already made the appointment for you and taken you there himself. My partner did that once for me when I had a continuous chest infection and the surgery wouldn't give me an appointment on a Friday evening after work. So funny, he rang the surgery and was very firm with them - he probably used his Sgt Major voice as his Mum called it. When I went to the local surgery they said they hadn't had a call about me but would see me anyway. I thought they were being funny about it but a week or so later found that he had called the number of the surgery my GP's practice ran in a neighbouring village about 4 miles away! HA HA HA! I wonder what they thought when I didn't turn up after all?

Hope you get to the bottom of this soon.

Try and keep calm and ask your hubby to cut you some slack as you are so worried about your health.

Take care and let us know how you get on. I am concerned about you now.



I just have a feeling i have it. Cough tickly throat for 3 months all day everyday. I do keep going to the doctor. I have one tomorrow. This will be the 5 appointment in a few weeks. Last time i went to the doctor they told me there was nothing they can do for me until the x ray results are in well they are and they were normal. They was not going to send me for a n x ray i had to push for it. They do the normal checks while i am there, but they find nothing. they do not know what it is. This pain in my arm is horrible its stabbing and it comes and goes in arm and down back i am falling apart. I am so scared and have no answers to what this is. The only thing i do not feel is out of breath etc. No cancer in the family NO.

Well, glad you have an appointment tomorrow. Tell them you are really worried and ask to be referred to a consultant. If the consultant thinks it necessary they will possibly refer you for a CT Scan which will show up more things than an x-ray. Even an x-ray done this year did not show the bronchiectasis I have which was diagnosed by a CT Scan after I was referred to a consultant back in 2010. Your problem could be lots of things other than lung cancer and if nothing shows up on an x-ray then if there is anything you are likely to be able to deal with it quickly and efficiently. Dp you have an underlying lung condition Melrose? if so what is it?


I do not think he will refer me, I have told them before i was worried, but they do not listen to me.

Have you asked for a referral before?

Sorry should have asked you exactly what you are coughing up. What colour is your sputum, clear or coloured - shades of green or brownish green could mean an infection so tell your Doc this. Also - and I know this is a little gross what is the consistency of the sputum, thick, stringy or practically solid? Giving this information to your Doc could help with a diagnosis. They should ask you this anyway.

Hope this helps


Not sure. I have a dry cough and do not cough anything really its when i spit out in tissue ( sorry for the grossness) it just has bits in sort of maybe yellow grey or green i cant really tell. I know that does not help you but it looks clear aprt from that but its when i cough hard of you know what i mean

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Yes. I do know what you mean. Even though I usually have a productive cough there are times when I cannot cough up anything. This is usually when I have to provide sputum samples. You can guarantee that the day after I take the samples in I am coughing up lovely stuff easily! That's life. Just make sure you tell your Doc everything tomorrow. Write things down so you don't forget anything. Write your questions down too. Take time this afternoon or this evening to think about what questions you want to ask. Ask your Doc if he would give you time to write down the answers too as I know quite often as soon as I walk out of that door I forget something or wonder if I got it the right way round. Better still ask your doc to write down the answers for you if they don't mind. I have done that frequently and no one has refused to either write the answers down for me or give me time to write them down. I know one person who asks their doc if they mind if they record the consultation on their mobile and I have done that when taking my elderly Aunt to the Doc too.

Hope the appointment goes well tomorrow. My best regards to your hubby!

All the very best to you.



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Hi again, I am sorry that you are still so worried. Is maybe what you are spitting out coming from the back of your throat and dripping down from your nose or infected sinuses. Don't worry about "gross" descriptions , we are all used to that here.

I actually shouted at my GP recently " nobody ever listens".... now I have to wait two weeks for my X-ray results.

Do you have any symptoms of infected sinuses, such as headache or tenderness around your eyes.

Have you rung the BLF helpline....they will be open tomorrow.

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I really am not sure anymore. Nothing i have nothing just an itchy throat every day and now i have shoulder and arm pain and i am convinced its lung cancer. I am very scared.

I remember you saying before that you had five children......understandingly you will be anxious in case you have cancer. Please tell your GP your fears tomorrow, maybe there will be nurse available too who may have more time to spend with you.

Sometimes just talking over your fears can help. When my children were young I always worried who would care for them if anything happened to me.....now they are adults and take me to hospital!

I have told them. the doctor said that i really should not be worried about that as i do not have it, but i think their wrong. I love my children i am so scared.

hi Melrose your better keeping going to doctor until you get to the bottom of your problem. what makes you think you have lung cancer. your better not to worry until you get a diagnoses.


I just do. With this cough and now this pain. I have looked on the internet and all my symptoms point to that.

hi Melrose I wouldn't pay to much attention to what you read on the internet. I did that when I was first diagnosed and what I read worried me sick until I came on here. your better with the advice you get on here. you will end up making yourself more unwell with worry.


Thank you for taking the time to talk with me. Can i ask what you have?. I know i am making myself worse. I feel like i am going to have a heart attack if i am honest. The pain in my arm and shoulder comes and goes and its scary an then i panic more.

I have very severe copd and emphysema

Oh no. Really sorry to hear that. Sorry to bug you with my problems. Do you cough a lot with that?. Just wondering what else i could have if its not lung cancer seeing as the x ray seems to have ruled that out??. Only thing is i do not get breathless.

yes I do cough up a lot muck mainly first thing in morning. theres no point in wondering what else you could have, it may not be anything serious. just see what your doctor says.

I will, but i already know they do not think its serious. My doc did not even want to do an x ray until i begged. He said its allergy related and the time of the year. They also was not really bothered about my aches and pains because they looked me over in their office and could not find anything. My mum said the other things are because i am anxious, but i am not sure to believe that or not.

i had a dry cough for nearly a year, the doc gave me anti-biotics twice as i was caring for my mother who was dying of cancer at the time. I could not be ill a my sister was working and so was my brother. Another GP gave me anti- histamine to take as he thought it was an allergy. After my mother died he looked at my tablets and said it could be one of my blood pressure tabs as it causes dry cough. That was it gone just like that i stopped taking that tab and within the week cough had gone. So it could be easy and the pain could be stain from coughing so much.

Have you tried sucking a sweet sometimes that helps, and it might help you to calm down durring a bout of coughing.

These are just suggestion i'm not a doctor. Hope you find out what is wrong hopefuuly its not cancer.



The thing is its not even like i am really coughing a lot its just and itchy throat that makes me want to cough all the time. Yes mine is a dry cough too, but i am only on lansoprazole for indigestion been on them for years. Tomorrow my doctors appointment and i am going to tell them everything. I may ask for something for my anxiety too as i am not sleeping or eating very well as i am worrying sick. I have no life at the moment since all this has started.

Also makes me cough a lot when people are smoking or spraying things around its horrible.

Not wanting to belittle your symptoms at all, my husband has a constant tickly cough, which is caused by hayfever. I know you are desperately worried about the possibility of having lung cancer, but if you did have that, I think it would show up on an X-ray. Sometimes anxiety can cause a cough too. I'm sorry if you feel I'm not taking you seriously, I am, but I'm just trying to point to the possibility of your cough being caused by something other than Lung Cancer. As for the aches and pains in your shoulders and arms, could that be caused by muscle tension due to the worry, or perhaps strain from all the coughing? I hope your GP listens to you next time, and refers you to a specialist, to find out what is causing the cough, and hopefully put your mind at rest. xx


Of course your not belittleling my symptoms. I welcome your insight with open arms, I am feeling a little better since i have found some people to talk to. This is what my doctor has said it is he just said its the time of the year making my throat feel like that. I have to be honest, I really am worried about lung cancer, and all i have been doing is researching of the internet and its really horrible things. This is what every body keeps telling me it would have showed, or my doctor would be doing more if he really thought it was that, i guess its kind of hard to believe, and then you look around and hear and see things about things being missed on x rays and it starts to worry you again. I have to also say that when i was waiting for the results, I was thinking if it comes back normal what happens if its not showed up and its making me worry more. Do you know my mum said what you have that i have had a cough and i have focused on it and my anxiety is what is making it 10 times worse. I do think your taking me seriously. Its good to actually be able to talk and have someone listen to you. My husband has also said that i am causing the aches and pains by the amount of stress i am under. Thanks so much for listening. Mel Xx

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Hi I was told by a doctor once that the symptoms of lung cancer generally are - a constant bad cough, losing quite a lot of weight for no obvious reason, having lots of chest infections and coughing up quite a bit of blood not just a bit. I was told coughing up just a bit of blood is due to a vein bursting which isn't serious. I get that when I cough a lot.

I have a friend who was diagnosed with lung cancer and they found it on the x-ray so if yours is clear is probably isn't that. Having said that there could well be something else wrong and that needs to be sorted out.

I had another friend who was diagnosed with it and had a lot of difficulty breathing and generally felt very unwell and a continuous sharp pain in his back. So from your symptoms it doesn't seem likely so please try and stop worrying about that at least. x

I presume you are not a smoker?

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I was a smoker till this started 3 a day and 20 when i was out on a sat night with friends. I will never touch another EVER again Mine is not a real bad cough its more of an uncomfortable itchy feeling, gets worse now if people are smoking near me fumes etc. Not lost any weight. Not had a chest infection before. My husband said the x ray was clear and i should take what the doctors tell me and be happy with it. I am trying, but he does not understand that. Xx

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One thing i did notice tho, I was given a preventor inhaler as they thought it might help. My doctor told me that it should have started working in 10 to 14 days well i thought it was not doing nothing so when the pharmacist rang and asked me if it was working i said no and she told me to stop taking it, but now i have stopped taking it i have noticed it was making a difference, so i started taking it again. I regret stopping now as being around smoke and air fresheners irritates my throat, but i noticed when i was taking it it took the edge of it... I do think now it was helping me, but did not realise until i stopped it... why did i listen to her

Have you considered silent GERD? Post-nasal drip? They are both common causes for a chronic cough, especially if you're not a smoker. I have just been through a BIG lung cancer scare with my husband - he had an abnormal x-ray, as well as the chronic cough, plus he's a lot older than you and a former heavy smoker. Turns out it wasn't cancer!

I take lansporazole for heartburn have done for years so i know its not that. Not sure about postnasal drip. I know spraying aresoles or smoking sets me off.

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I believe heartburn can cause throat trouble, so ask the doc to look at your throat.

He has. I do not suffer with heartburn as i take lansprazole. Have done for years.

Hi melrose, my partners lung cancer was seen clearly on an Xray. He had no cough, no breathlessness pain or anything. He only had severe itching all over his body and that was because it had already spread to his liver. You won't have lung cancer.

I'm with mel07, just because your on lanzrapole, does not mean your acid reflux is under control. My son developed a deep, hacking cough and he too was on acid reflux medication. They ended up having to put him on the strongest one they've got because the acid was getting into his lungs.

I also agree that post nasal drip could be your problem. I suffer from that and have a terrible itchy throat all year round.

Your arm pain can be something as simple as a torn muscle.

You are getting very worked up and anxiety like that makes you think you have something really bad up with you. You need help to get it under control.

Your doctor should be able to prescribe something to calm you down while they get to the bottom of your problems. xx

Thanks for replying. I have to admit i am really worried. I think i have lung cancer, I think i have pretty much convinced myself of it and its made me a 100 times worse. Its just horrible not knowing. I am very worked up. I have not slept properly since all this has started. The cough that will not go. My son sprayed his deodorant yesterday and it took me ages to stop coughing and get it out from my throat. I spoke to my dad today who just told me to buck my ideas up and i will end up being put in hosptial. Its upset me so much. I wake up sweating. I woke up last night and had a panic attack i felt confused it was horrible. I feel like i am in a nightmare and cant get out of it. I have an appointment with the doctor today, but i really feel they do not listen to me or even care. I do not even know what to say to them because i feel they do not care.

Hi Melrose

What excellent advice you've been given. I can't really add to it, as they pretty much covered everything. I'm

actually wondering how your doing now. That was 18 hrs. ago, you wrote the post. Did all the good advice set your mind at ease some?


I have an appointment at 10 40 today. But i am not sure i think they will just think i am wasting their time xx

Let us know how you make out.😊xxx

Thanks. I will do when i see the doctor i tell you what he says xx

I saw my doctor today. He said the x ray was clear so hes not worried. I was so worked up i forgot to say anything about the pain in my chest and shoulder what i am worried about. He gave me a nasal spray and told me to use it as he checked my throat and said mucus was running down a little. He told me to keep using my preventor inhaler and hes given my citelapram 20mg today as he said it will help me with my nerves. I still feel worried that and i hope soon my nightmare is over as i want my life back xx

Hi melrose, you know what it is now and the anxiety is causing you to go into meltdown, I know because I've been there too.

The Citolapram should start kicking in soon, I was on it for years. Give it time to work. You should soon start calming down and you'll feel the relief.

Don't be upset about what your Dad said to you, he is not being harsh, he just knows you're making yourself I'll.

Find something to occupy yourself with until the meds kick in.

You really must react as you should be doing, knowing you don't have lung cancer and that is being happy. xx

I am just finding it hard to believe that i do not have it as i am having these symptoms. I just have this feeling that the x ray has missed something. I know i am not coping today i feel sick and have bad stomach. I feel myself losing control. I am worried.

Sadly, we are indoctrinated with fear these day - turn on the telly and it's like they're on a mission to terrify us: "If you have a cough for 3 weeks it could be cancer" - I had one for years and it wasn't, "You wouldn't ignore blood from any other part of your body...." Well, yes, actually, nose-bleeds, arms scratched to bits gardening, exploding haemorrhoids, none of those send me into coniptions. I feel you have an anxiety issue going on and I can so relate to that. Get it sorted and if it's any comfort (and I'm sure it isn't) I'd put money on you being cancer-free. And stop Googling - that alone can scare you to death!


I am trying to work out what is anxiety and what part of its not. Really feeling fearful today really bad.

Hi melrose, your anxiety is causing you to over-think. The trouble with symptom checking is that we could all find several ailments that have the exact same symptoms.

Anxiety causes people to have a heightened awareness of bodily aches, pains, functions ect...

You need to stop working yourself up, take your Citalopram and get your mind occupied on something else until it kicks in. If you start fretting, get up and go for a short walk or clear out a cupboard, anything that will take your mind off worrying.The more you push the fear out of your mind and don't let it get a look in, the sooner it will give up and go.

If you don't calm down within the next 3 weeks, go back to your doctor for your medication upping in strength or even something else to try and ease your anxiety.

It really is what your main problem appears to be. xx


Hi Melrose, you must be absolutely exhausted with not sleeping, being worried about your health at the same time looking after five children.

Hopefully the new medication will give you some relief from the anxiety, but try and make time to care for yourself too......not to ruminate and worry .....but to find enjoyment. Can you meet up with friends or try an exercise class, even a walk can help.

I can imagine you have a very busy house but can you find ten minutes alone and undisturbed to try relaxation or meditation. .....or a quiet bath with oils . Put your needs first just for a while at least.....I know that's easier said than done.

Take care

I am exhausted. And i think the pill the doctor gave me is making me more drowsy. I have 3 older boys who pretty much look after themselves, but i have two younger children that need me. I am trying i really am. I do not want to go out cant explain just a bit worried at the moment. I can tell my body is feeling stressed. I do have a busy house, but my hubby is helping me out. Thank you all your all so very caring and it does help xx.

Could be as simple as a nodual on your vocal cord causing the problem....have you seen An Ear, Nose, Throat doctor?

No not seen a doctor. I have noticed that when i sing now tho i have a horrible rough feeling in my throat. My doctor said nothing about ear nose and throat specialist either.

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