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The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
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So confused

Hi all

I am so confused, last year I had an upper right lobectomy followed by 12 weeks of chemo, at the start of sept I was told I am Cancer free!

October I was told it’s back, it’s in my scaring from my op and my central lymph node, I started radiotherapy 3 weeks ago I have 1 week to go,

This morning I have started to cough up blood

So I started to look for information about this wondering if this is a side effect of radiotherapy,

I can’t find anything but whilst on Cancer research site it said radiotherapy is not a cure for Cancer!

But my Oncologist said it’s curable I just don’t understand.

Has anyone had a similar experience or can help with any info regarding any of this

Many Thanks

6 Replies

Hi Lulu45

I do not know if it is a side effect of the radiotherapy. But I would definitely get in touch with the medical team that looked after you or go to your GP.

Were you coughing up a lot of blood? Coughing up blood can also be due to chest infection as that was what was said to me before I was diagnosed.

Will keep fingers crossed for you but defo go and speak to someone.

Take care


Thank you for your reply I will ask my radiology nurse today to see what she thinks


Radiotherapy is delivered for both curative and palliative/supportive treatment which is why you'll find references to both online. SABR (ablation radiotherapy sometimes called cyber knife) has success rates almost equal to surgery in those whose tumours can't be surgically removed. The problem with the internet is that there is information overload, no sifts or filters and everything comes up - so for those with a little knowledge but lots of passion and curiosity it can be fraught with danger! We can frighten ourselves to death. Much of the information is outdated and also includes all cancers not just lung cancer and even less likely the specific about our personal tumours. I'd urge all patients to discuss their own situation with their own clinicians who should have the biological information about your own tumour, your staging (i.e. the size/spread of the tumour) and the pathological information about any specific markers/mutations within your tumour or your own genome which together with your own physical health (which varies from patient to patient dependent on any other conditions we may have) and our own general fitness before diagnosis, all contribute to the way we are treated. Your oncologist has this information - the internet doesn't.

I coughed up blood 2 weeks ago during a violent coughing fit and thought (as I had a left upper lobectomy in December 2010, diagnosed as lung cancer in Jan 2011) that this might be the return but no, it turns out that I had a respiratory virus that had me isolated in hospital for 5 days. It's hard not to think that every symptom is the cancer returning but most of the time it isn't. I found a book really helpful to reassure me in the early months after surgery on this - called 'cancer is a word not a sentence' by Dr Rob Buckman as it helped me put symptoms into context. Not saying that you shouldn't follow up - but if you can stop your mind jumping to the conclusion that everything is the return of the cancer, it might help you focus on recovering your life. Good luck and hope they get it sorted - whatever it is.

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I love that

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I would consult your medical team if I were you. Every case is different and they know you. Though coughing up blood is distressing, it may not be serious. It might be a side effect of medications or treatment. Consult the experts before panicking. This is a bumpy road we're on and we need correct information.


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Hello Lulu45,

As JanetteR57 has mentioned in her reply radiotherapy can be a curitive treatment, have a chat with your specialist nurse and she will be happy to talk things over with you, I would mention the coughing up blood as others have said it can be a frightening symptom that can have varied causes and the team whose care you are under will be able to advise you. I have added below a link to our radiotherapy booklet which may be of interest to you.


If you would like to talk with someone please give us a call on our nurse led helpline Freephone 0800 358 7200

Kind regards

Roy Castle Helpline


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