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Coughing up blood


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Dear Dr. Joe,

I've been coughing up blood (about a teaspoon about 3-4 times a day) for about a week now. As a back up history - i'm smlc limited completed treatment 6/02 and have had NED since then. I have struggled with cigarettes on an off since then, with my last effort seeming to be successful so far. I'm using Wellbutrin, patch and gum with my GP's ok. They have been doing major construction (i mean MAJOR DUST) flying everywhere, followed by heavy chemicals being used to coat concrete.) In my apartment house and I was home for a week unable to avoid this horrible dust . Many neighbors have complained, many have asthma problems and I wasn't coughing up blood till then. Do you think I should wait about a week to see if the coughing subsides as I stay off cigarettes? Could it be my body clearing out the gunk, or the irritation of all the dust and chemicals. Also, I was recently told I have hypothyroidsm, which makes me very tired. I'm on meds for that. It's just I'm worried that blood and fatigue are two warning signs of cancer. Worried sick. Please tell me what you think. Thanks,


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Ono doc,

I’d like to join in on this Q. Does coughing up blood indicate anything in particular. I’m only told its goes with lung cancer. I have intermittently coughed up a very minimal amount, then about two months ago the amount increased substantially for a week or so, then went away completely. I have this wantful vision that the tumor is a solid thing, but my intellect tells me it must be a cancerous canker thing. Would the blood more indicate the bronchial area or the lung. Also my monocyte numbers seem to increase as does the blood amount. No other symptoms. Lots of questions but basically, does the coughing up blood indicate tumor activity.



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Blood in the sputum can be caused by lots of things. Inflammation of the bronchi (hollow tubes) in the lungs can cause oozing blood, kind of like a bloody nose but way down deep. Inflammation can be caused by infections, irritants in the air (although this would be an uncommon cause) or fluid buildup such as in congestive heart failure. Cancer is a common cause of bleeding in the lungs and is because the tumors have a rich but fragile blood supply. This can be caused by a mass (solid thing) in the airway or by multiple areas of involvement. Less commonly it can be a more serious sign such as invasion of the cancer into a larger blood vessel.

Joanie, what you are describing could certainly be caused by some of the irritants (such as smoking) that you are describing but when coughing up blood is a new symptom, it should be evaluated fairly quickly. I'd call your doctor and get checked out.

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