The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
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What causes a pleural effusion? (Stage 4 Adenocarcinoma)

My mum was admitted to hospital tonight as she was becoming breathless on very little exertion. The chest X-ray showed a pleural effusion and I am just wondering what can cause this? Does it always mean a malignant effusion? As far as we know my mum has metastases to her bones, adrenal glands and lymph nodes in her chest but no recurrence within her actual lungs. She did have some excess fluid after her lobectomy and the DR at A and E said tonight it could just have been slowly building up over the last few months but I am worried sick that it's something more sinister. My mum has generally been doing pretty well for the past month or so and has tolerated 2 rounds of carboplatin with minimal side effects. I am so anxious that this effusion means the chemotherapy has not worked for her, starting treatment really gave us hope.. We have been trying to stay as positive as we can but it is so hard.

Thanks in advance x

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Hello MissyD1,

I am sorry to hear that your mum has been admitted to hospital with pleural effusions, your concerns are understandable and you will both be worried. hopefully your mum will have been admitted and more investigations will be perfromed to find the cause. Pleural effusion can have many varied causes, as the Dr in A&E has said it could be a slow build up of fluid from the previous lobectomy or infection ( chemotherapy can lower your immune system ), further investigations will be required to find the cause.

If you wish to speak with someone give us a call on the nurse led helpline freephone 0800 358 7200

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