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Cancer Anxiety


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My husband and I have lost all of our parents to NSCLC in the past 5 years. He still smokes, down to less than 10 a day. On Thursday, he tells me that he is "coughing up blood" and made a doctor's appt. With further questioning, it turns out his sinuses were extremely dry and he had blood when he blew his nose. After blowing, he would spit into the sink and noticed a streak of blood and became very concerned. We went to the doctor that day, where he told my husband that it was most probably the dry air but wanted a chest x-ray considering that 1) he still smokes, 2) has lost both parents to lung cancer.

We sparked up the humidifier and now the blood in his nasal mucus has disappeared. The nurse called the next day to say xray was fine, but doctor wanted to follow up next week. Then they would request that another chest xray be taken in a couple weeks.

I cannot help but feel anxiety over this. I questioned, "why does the dr. want another xray if it was fine?" Was told "probably routine follow-up". I know that my rational mind is saying, "good, we want a dr. that is cautious." But my cancer anxiety mind is freaking out. I've even wondered - would they just tell us the xray is ok since it's a holiday weekend? Maybe there is something and they aren't telling us the truth. Why another xray?

Can someone please tell me that I'm being irrational and paranoid....or what do you folks think?


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You are NOT being paranoid. It would be difficult to not be thinking exactly the way you are right now. That being said.....I DO NOT think that news is bad here. I think the followup is just that - after the humidifier and all. Just to be cautious that the problem has been resolved. Take it as a GOOD thing! I know that is easy for me to say, huh? But I believe that is the way it is. Please let us know when my dx is confirmed, okay :lol: ?


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Can someone please tell me that I'm being irrational and paranoid....or what do you folks think?

You're being irrational and paranoid. You're putting the cart before the horse. You're wasting time worrying about nothing.

...and then again, are you?

I once saw a cartoon strip of kids making a perpetual motion machine, a piece of buttered toast tied on the back of a cat. The theory was that a cat always lands on its feet and toast always lands butter side down, therefore the combination would basically spin....and THAT'S how the ride of "could it be cancer" goes. One thought, opposite thought, back to original thought...flip, flip, flip...

You can argue with yourself about whether or not one thought is saner than the previous one...OR, you can take it one step at a time, follow the doctor's instructions and learn to go with your gut. If things don't feel right, figure out if you're just scared or if things aren't lining up right.

I coughed blood and was sent for a chest x-ray to rule out TB. I don't smoke, no history of lung cancer in my family and I had had a dry cough for three weeks. Not TB, I had pneumonia. Follow up on pneumonia (thank GOD my doctor insisted on it) showed "something" and from there, I'm here.

Many, MANY people go through the same beginning steps for a possible something that is nothing - probably far more than end up on this end of diagnosis. Yep, your husband has a lot of "red flags" for a doctor looking for a reason for a bloody cough, and then again, approximately 10% of smokers get lung cancer. Odds are in his favor, over all.

Don't panic, it's New Years Eve. Get out and celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of another. Put on your big girl panties in the morning and step into your pants one foot at a time, take the next week one day at a time and follow up. Don't panic until there's reason to panic - and don't panic then.

Yep, you're irrational and paranoid. Aren't we all?

Hang in there,


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I do not in anyway wanna scare you, but as your already aware lung cancer is not something you can mess with. This is exactly the same scenerio we went thru for 6 months with my mom. Her GP, a ENT and an allergist all told her the same tihng. Sinus, old blood, dark blood sorta thing like any color is better than the other,but no worrie, all ok and normal??Finally ended up in ER and after CT scan it showed a small tumor. This never did show up on an Exray, even her Onc after the fact had the explain to me how and why not everything doesnt show up on normal exrays. PLease insist that your husband have a CTscan asap.


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With all due respect, I could see if my husband was having blood in his mucus for a period of time, that we should be VERY concerned. However, when both my 10 year old and I are having blood in our Kleenex during the same time period after blowing our noses, I would tend to think that dry air were the culprit. My husband had blood in his nasal mucus for 2 days, and has since had 3 days with nothing (after using our humidifier). The nurse reported to us that his x-ray was fine.

My post was mostly to say that we (my husband and I) are extremely sensitive to the slightest indication of any kind of possible sign of LC considering our history.

Thanks to all the responses. I'm just worried that I'm over sensitive to every possible symptom anymore. I'm trying to figure out how to act normal after dealing with LC for so long, with so many relatives affected.

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Well, I think the doc's plan is routine and I sure would want a doc who is cautious and aggressive. Ignorance is NOT bliss, and what you don't know can kill you. Hiding the head in the sand doesn't make it go away. Better to catch LC in the early stages -- the prognosis is much better. Don

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Kerry, I think we are all paranoid . I loved what Snowflake said. It is so true, so many people go through tests to just "make s ure" and far less people find themseleves at LCSC, but it is good just to know.

Also good you have a paranoid dr :)

By the way, I have gotten the nose blood mucous thing too from sinuses.

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It sounds like you have hit upon a wonderful doctor that is thorough and attentitive. Oh how I wish my first GP was as involved....

Anyway, many doctors will do an x-ray as a "base-line" to compare any future x-rays to. It will make it easier to see if there are any changes. This is probably why they ordered another set of x-rays in a couple of weeks. Now they have their "base-line" and since your husband has 2 risk factors, they can keep an eye on him.

Hope this makes you feel a little better :)


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Thank you for all the responses. They really have helped.

I re-did the math, and it has actually been 7 years straight of dealing with LC and supporting/loving our wonderful parents through their course with this disease.

I guess I'm coming to terms with the FACT that the fear of getting LC or having someone else that I love get it, will be something that will forever be with me - in the back (front, side, kitty corner) of my mind for the rest of my life. That sucks! :cry:

I'm trying to learn how to "buck up" and live each day without worrying so much.

Thanks again.

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