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Lung Cancer

Could I have Lung Cancer

07/02/2010

Question:

I`m a 22 year old female that`s always been in good health. However, I`ve been sick since October with chest discomfort, coughing, throat clearing, ear pain and pressure, fatigue (I used to sleep for about 20 hours a day), fevers, some wheezing type sounds, shortness of breathe, rapid pounding heart rate at random times, and laryngitis all of which are still ongoing with the exception of my voice. It has come back but is not the same as before and I`m constantly clearing my throat to talk normally again. I feel like a boy going through puberty with all the voice cracking. I`ve been to several different doctors each one of them putting me on a different antibiotic and on Asthmanex, and Proventil inhalers. None of which seem to help very much. I don`t know what to do anymore. I`m just so exhausted. Normally I wouldn`t think I had cancer, but a friend of mine who is also 22 was just diagnosed with cancer in her heart with mets to the liver and lungs and no one knows what`s wrong with me. If anyone has any suggestions or advice please let me know! Any help will be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

Answer:

As a 22 year old, your risk of having a primary lung cancer is very very low.

Given your symptoms of fever, wheezing, shortness of breath and preponderance to infection and laryngitis, I think you will benefit from visiting an ENT (ear, nose, throat) specialist and a pulmonologist (lung specialist) unless you have already done so.

An ENT specialist will be able to examine your vocal cords and throat to determine if there is any sinusitis, or vocal cord issues. Your pulmonologist would probably recommend a breathing test, some blood work and chest X-ray or chest CT scan to determine if there is any underlying lung condition that is causing your symptoms. Another possiblity would be whether you have some kind of immune deficiency, your primary physician may refer you to an immunologist.

Once again, I would like to reassure you that the possiblity of any lung cancer is very low at your age.

For more information:

Go to the Lung Cancer health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Shaheen  Islam, MD, MPH Shaheen Islam, MD, MPH
Clinical Associate Professor
Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
Hematology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University