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Smoking and Tobacco

Blood in phlegm

04/11/2008

Question:

A 40 year smoker December 2007 it`s time to quite I am now in my 5th month. Once or twice a week I expell a small amount of hard phlem. At first it was just a small trace of blood. There seems to be more blood lately. Is this normal or should I be concerned. Thanking you in advance

Answer:

First, my heartiest congratulations. You seem to have beaten the world's toughest addiction. Way to go!

While it is not uncommon for quitting smokers to have more cough and phlegm as their lungs begin to open up, I would be concerned about both the duration and the blood. If you've smoked a pack a day for over twenty years, you're at real risk for damage to your lungs and cancer.

Go see your doctor. You may want to talk with him/her about having your sputum (phlegm) examined under the microscope for cancer, and also discuss a special CT scan of your lungs.

Good luck.

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Response by:

Rob  Crane, MD Rob Crane, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Family Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University