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Lung diseases

Difficulty breathing comes and goes

10/05/2009

Question:

For the past month, I have been having difficulty breathing that comes and goes. The sensation varies. Sometimes it feels as if I cannot get enough air in, other times, it feels as if my chest is too tight, other times it feels like shortness of breath. This comes and goes - sometimes I feel fine, and I`ll have a difficulty episode for a short period of time. Other times, it lasts all day. When I exercise (jogging), I don`t seem to have any regular problems breathing. What could this be? Could it be lung cancer?

Answer:

Intermittent shortness of breath that is not associated with exercise is not typical for lung cancer. However, lung cancer can cause a variety of symptoms. But other causes related to the lungs (or heart) are more likely. It would be reasonable to be evaluated by your primary care physician. Alternatively, a pulmonologist may offer expertise in this area.

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Response by:

Michael F Reed, MD Michael F Reed, MD
Assistant Professor of Surgery
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati