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The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
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Scared

Hi my name is James I'm 36 and a former smoker. For the past few months I've been having chest problems, coughing etc. In June I coughed up blood. I had a chest xray which came back normal but am still, on occasion, bringing up a bit of blood and am terrified they missed something. Can anyone give me any advice. I'm unbelievably scared

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Dear James

Welcome to the forum. It is encouraging that your Chest xray is clear.

Perhaps consider going back to the GP to discuss your concerns, or if you have any change in symptoms. It may be with the exertion of coughing that you may cough up some blood and from what you have said it is only occasional and not a frequent occurrence.

I have placed a link from our website on the signs and symptoms to be aware of:

roycastle.org/how-we-help/l...

If you wish to discuss anything you can call our free nurse led helpline number on 0800 358 7200.

All the best

The Roy Castle Support Team

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Hi James, I know how scary it can be believe me. My advice to you would be if you’re still having symptoms is to ask for a CT scan. My lung cancer was diagnosed last year by a chest X-ray, I then had chemo and surgery. Unfortunately I found out this week that the cancer has returned now in both lungs. Small tumours throughout which did not show up on a chest X-ray but did on a CT scan. If you’re concerned you’ve really got to push to get one. All the best and I wish you lots of luck.

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I understand your worry and also the reassuring responses. You could have burst a blood vessel, torn something with the violent coughing. Not all lung cancer patients cough up blood (indeed most who do have something else - often TB or something else) and many don't cough at all. Do contact your GP again and ask for them to investigate in case it is another respiratory condition that needs controlling (COPD, asthma or an infection) so you can be given some treatment to reduce your symptoms and also reduce your concerns. It is almost 8 years since I had half my lung removed and that was confirmed as lung cancer in Jan 2011. I've been hospitalised several times since and had suspected recurrences but still working, swimming, travelling. There are many treatments around now for lung cancer and I've met people who've survived many years but we don't get to hear about these very often. good luck.

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Sometimes you can bring up a very small ammount of blood from coughing too much also it can comes from your nose if you blow it hard.

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Hi James I have to agree with Bellabe and push for further investigation , I also know of a colleague who had lung cancer which failed to show up in chest x-rays . Coughing up blood is a possible symptom of lung cancer , or it may be as a result of a cough , but how often do people cough up a little blood when coughing ? . Do you have a chronic hacking cough ?

I hope it ends up being nothing to worry about but having had lung cancer there is no way I would accept that a chest x Ray is the only investigation offered.

Best wishes

Jane

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Hi Jane, I wouldn't describe it as chronic or hacking and have been prescribed inhaled steroids which seems to be helping, although not gotten rid of it completely. I had the cough for 6 months before the blood started. I don't feel unwell in myself but I'm not sure if I would be by now if it were something serious, it's been about a year since it started

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Hi James I’m glad cough is improving , and I do hope in the end it’s nothing sinister , I always say be your own advocate , the only symptoms I had were joint stiffness and at first slightly raised Inflammatory markers , I had no cough was not breathless etc as many lung cancer patients don’t always present with symptoms typical of the disease . In the very early stages lung cancer is sometimes only discovered by accident as people don’t always have any symptoms at all. I have to say knowing what I know now six years on from diagnosis I wouldn’t ignore the blood and I wouldn’t wait to see what happens especially since you’ve had cough for a year.

Best wishes

Jane

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Hi James

I never coughed up blood at all. Not until I was having radiation and then I coughed up aliens. It’s always a good idea to ask for a ct scan to confirm a diagnosis. I know that sometimes people with acid reflux can bring up blood from the esophagus and mistake it as coming from the lungs. If there is something bleeding in your digestive tract you need to know that as urgently as you would want to know about lung cancer. Most people will feel “ill” once lung cancer is advanced enough to cause blood when coughing so you’re probably safe in that aspect. Still...you need to know where the blood is coming from. Advocate for yourself because it’s your lungs and your life.

Keep in mind that worrying about it can lead to other medical problems and a lot of stress. I’m sure you’d feel much better if they did a CT scan. Good luck and Merry Christmas!

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Thank you for getting back to me, I'm a lot less worried now, I'm not unwell and I think I probably just panicked as I'm a former smoker. I've had a lot of health issues in my life, was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease 3 years ago, on top of spina bifida, hydrocephalus and epilepsy so don't really fancy anything else!! I've discovered ibd can affect the respiratory tract so I think it's all related but I appreciate the responses I've had and wish you all the very best. Merry Christmas to you too

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