The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
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Worried..please advise

I am 61 and gave up smoking over 10 years ago.

I am a bit of a mess - Type 2 diabetes, Prinzmetals variant angina, sleep apnoea - I take a cocktail of pills daily and have to sleep (when I can, I suffer from insomnia as well!!) with a CPAP device.

My problem is that I have been very tired and felt generally unwell for the last 3 weeks and have developed a cough - not continuous but nagging and enough to disturb my sleep at night. The cough does sometimes produce phlegm (eg in the morning) but is largely dry. I haven't spat any out and looked so I cant describe it.

Today I went to my doctor and he said that my chest sounded clear but I am to return next Friday for a blood test and have to have a chest x-ray. At work today, a colleague remarked that when his father was diagnosed with lung cancer, the doctor listened to his chest with a stethoscope and said he also sounded clear but a tumour was shown up on an x-ray.

When I got home and logged on line I read that tumours do not result in any abnormal chest sounds to a doctor.

If this is correct, it has got me very worried indeed.

Are there any other complaints that sound clear through a stethoscope but result in the sort of cough described above. It is a week before my x-ray and I am scared beyond belief.


3 Replies

Dear Paul,

Listening to your chest with a stethoscope should not be used as a diagnostic tool in isolation, so your GP is doing the correct thing by organising an x-ray. Try not to listen too much to other people and also much of what is available on the web is unreliable. Each individual is different so try not to compare yourself to others. The most important thing is that the GP has listened to your concerns and is following the correct procedure. Try not to worry too much and take comfort from your GP's efficiency. You are in good hands.

Best wishes,

Beth, on behalf of Information and Support

1 like

Hi Paul I can quite understand your worries. Have another word with your G.P. see if he can hurry your appointment through. May be you have a walk in chest clinic near by. Always worth asking. But do tell your doctor how worried you feel.

Like Bethcochrane says dont believe other people as we are all different.

Take care. xx



thank you both for your kind thoughts but I believe I know the cause if my problems - it hit me like a bolt last night and researches with persons in a similar boat to me (and a health care professional) has confirmed it as the most likely scenario.

Basically, my cough started three weeks ago, the same time I started to use my CPAP machine. I do not yet have a humidifier (I think the NHS tries to save a bit of money by seeing if you can get by without one first) and hence I have been drying my throat and air passages every night, resulting in a dry mainly unproductive cough and sore throat - I am told a common complaint for users of a CPAP without a humidifier.

Interrupted sleep is the cause of my tiredness and no infection exists hence the lack of chest sounds.

I shall still keep my x-ray appointment just to make sure. I have a further appointment in a few weeks at the Papworth sleep centre when I shall push for a humidifier attachment.

Thanks again and here's hoping.......



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