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What first brought you to the doctor?


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Hello everyone -

What was the reason you originally went to the doctor? What symptoms were you feeling? How did you get to that point where doctors suspected LC?

Thank you

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Hi. I started coughing every time I lit a cigarette. I switched to very light cigarettes and it helped at first. About maybe 4-6 months later I felt like I had a chest cold and was very fatigued also started to have pain in my back which would move to under the arm and also the chest area. Not sharp pain, just constant, dull pain, and also the coughing was getting worse. I went to my doctor and explained everything and he suggested a chest Xray. Thats when we found it.

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I had a sudden onset of cold like symptoms. Fever, chills, etc. Coupled with some minor breating problems. First diagnosis was pnuemonia. When the chest x-ray was checked the doctor told me I had pnuemonia all right, but there was something else in there he couldn't quite make out because it was masked by the pnuemonia. After taking some anti-biotics for a couple of weeks I still didn't feel all that good. That's when I went to the VA hospital and had another set of x-rays which let to a CT scan, which led to a bronchoscophy and the diagnosis of cancer.


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For my husband it was a pressure in his head and swelling in the neck due to vena cava syndrome. The tumor was pressing on the vein that brings blood back to the heart. He thought he was having an allergic reaction to something. He went to the doctor and was diagnosed that day.

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I first went to this doctor because I had an overwhelming sense of fatigue most days. The type of fatigue that you have when you are pregnant..where your mind may be alert but your entire body is drained.

I also had had a croupy cough for some time and a pain in my right shoulder blade/back that I had had for what seemed like years. My previous doctor had given reasons for both of them (allergies and muscle spasm) which I assumed was the truth, but after my surgery both those symptoms disappeared so I guess that was all connected.

Anyway, I didn't even tell this doctor about the cough or the aches..just the tiredness. He sent me for an xray and the rest is history.

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I went to check out a nagging cough in April, 2002. It had started in the Fall of 2001, but I had attributed it to my contact with many little guys in an after-school program tutoring program that I had volunteered for. The doctor did an X-ray and it didn't require a medical degree to see that I was in deep trouble. Confirmed through biopsy in May.


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I had no symptoms. I had a car accident on August 1, 2001. About 2 weeks later I noticed a lump on the left side of my neck just above the collar bone. It was close to the bruised area I had from the shoulder harness and was concerned that I may have ruptured a lymph node in the accident. My family doc sent me to a surgeon, who then ordered a CT Scan of my neck and chest. The lump was soft tissue damage from the accident, but the CT Scan revealed a tumor in the lower lobe of my right lung. As I had no sypmtoms, the CT Scan was repeated free of charge, as the radiologist thought they may have gotten scans mixed up with another patient. The second scan, of course, was the same as the first.

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I had a dull ache in the center of my chest that would come and go. I tried to go to see a doctor about it, but he wouldn't accept out-of-town checks! Mind you, my bank was only 16 miles away. So, I put off the doctor till the pain was constant. It didn't hurt bad, nor did it feel like a heart attack ( I am young and workout. No family history of heart disease, but there was for lung cancer.) I had no cough either, so I didn't think it was pnemonia. Finally, a month later, my new PA ordered a chest x-ray. A spot the size of a pea was seen in my right middle lobe. The PA set me up with a pulmonologist who diagnosed me with adenocarcinoma after doing a bronchoscopy. Doctor thought it was an infection. Lung function test proved above average. All the doctors I have seen have told me that I should not have had any pain in my medistinal area (middle chest), the nodes were hidden behind my sternum. They did light up on a PET scan though. Still, the nodes were'nt enlarged. A mediasteinoscopy (scope done through small incision in the neck) revealed spread of cancer to middle chest. Everyone was in shock about my diagnosis. The only sickness I ever had was the flu a couple of time throughout the years. I, on the otherhand, knew I would get cancer someday. Both of my parents died in their 40's, within two weeks of one another.


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I had been having recurring bronchitis for approx. 5 months and then I started feeling very tired and coughing a lot. I attributed the cough to the bronchitis. Then I started getting leg cramps and the cramps got so bad that it looked like electrodes were attached to my calfs-it was like deep sea waves rippling through the muscles in my calfs. My wife took me to the emergency room were a blood test showed extremely low sodium in my blood, caused by the tumor in my lung I was told. My sodium was so low the docs said that if I had waited another day or 2 the low sodium would have put me in a coma which I probably would not have come out of. A CT Scan the night I went to the emergency room showed something in my left lung. It took them several days to get my sodium up to a level where they could do a biopsy. Had the Biopsy on Tuesday, had my porta cath in on Wed. and started chemo Thur., Friday and Sat.

So started my journey.

David C

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I switched to a cheaper brand of ciggarettes Feb 2003, noticed right away that they irritated my lungs much worse than the other brand, but wanted to save money, so continued to smoke them. I continued to feel an irritation in my lungs, just under my right breast, then in mid August I had sharp pains in that spot and went to hospital in case it was a heart attack. I was told my Xray was 'patchy' and that it was probably viral pnuemonia. I was given no meds or suggestion for treatment, just sent home. When I continued to have the pains for the next 2 weeks on and off, I finally went to my Dr. who put me on prednizone and did some blood work, he said my counts were all up and it was a virus. The prednizone relieved the pain to a shallow dull ache I could live with and I quit smoking as well, figuring I needed to give my health a break and I was ready anyway. However every day, that dull ache got just a tiny bit worse and I was always exhausted! So in October, after a month of not smoking, I went back to the Dr. he said he had to do diagnostics, but would start small and work up (I have no insurance) He sent me for a new chest X ray and then a CT scan the same day. When he got the results, he had me go to the hospital with "chest pains" so I could get in and then had them do a full set of tests on me including the Bronchoscopy and full CT scans and a bone scan.

And that's how it was!


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I had a dry cough for about three weeks that was annoying to a sleeping spouse and was enough to rattle my brain and give me headaches. My little guy got sick so I made both of us an appointment and headed to the doctor...we were both put on antibiotics due to the season (November) and strep making its rounds ('02). Day five of the antibiotic I coughed up blood (probably due to almost a month of coughing and irritating my throat). Back to the doctor, TB test with controls and a chest X-ray (the X-ray was to rule out TB). X-ray showed pneumonia - and hubby had it, too.

December comes, follow up X-ray, hubby is clear, I have a "foggy" area in my right lung. Doctor doesn't like how it looks, sends me for CT..."foggy area" becomes "mass" and sent to thoracic surgeon for consult (age: 34, non-smoker, could be a simple lung infection). Needle biopsy January '03 confirms cancer....roller coaster from there - complete with GOOD DRUGS and melting walls... :wink:

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My dad went into the emergency room for kidney stones which he was experienced with having had them before. While getting xrays and ultrasounds for that they found a 6cm abdominal aortic anuerysm (spelling?) and he stayed for a few days and they sent him home. He returned for follow up to the physician from the hospital and after a lot of walking around ended up having to call an ambulance because his left leg had swollen to twice its size and his testicles were also swollen which made it impossible for him to walk. They admitted him and said he had DVT. After several cat scans, xrays etc... they did a brochoscopy and found that he had the lung full of small cell. They also found the large tumor on his left side in the iliac nodes of his leg. This tumor was supposed to cover his whole left side from lung to leg. Looking back on it now, Dad had a cough for a long time, a year or so that he kept putting off as a bad cold and he swore he had lymes disease. Dad never was one for going to the drs office. He always put everything off until it was emergency room material. I know I couldnt have changed his mind but I wish I had tried harder to get him to check out the cough, maybe we would have had more time if we caught it earlier. Shelly

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Hi ----I was feeling tired but as I commute 3 -4 hours daily thought I was just tired---but did have a sinus infection---so I saw my primary Dr. for some antibiotics.

My Dr. said since you are a smoker and have not had an x-ray in some time, you should go for one-

Now normally since there was no sense of urgency (my Dr. said he had no idea why he sent me for one---usually he would not send anyone with my symptoms of a sinus infection and my lungs sounded clear) I would never go---but I did this time--don't even know why -they called me back and said there was a thickening in my pleura---so had a cat and a small tumor showed---then had a needle biopsy to confirm


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It was in Feb 2003. I worked outside clearing snow for the college that I worked for. I would get hoarse but no sore throat. I am not one that runs to the doctor with a runny nose. Other than that I felt fine. When I'd go inside for a while my voice would come back. I thought it was the cold air. My wife got the flu and went to the doctor. While talking to my friends at work everybody said "and what about you, when are you going to the doctor"? Well after a few weeks of nagging on their part I saw the doctor in early March. I had not had x-ray in 2 years so he felt like I needed one. Well the rest is history...CT Scan, PET Scan...Bone Scan..more x-rays and as Paul Harvey says.....NOW YOU KNOW THE REST OF THE STORY.

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First my husband was having chronic shoulder pain (for almost 5 years) that the doctor wrote off as arthritis then last year woke up with sharp pains in his lung, he said he felt like it was collapsed like then he had pneumonia before a long time ago..we went to the doctor a couple days later and after chest x-rays the doctor agreed it was pneumonia and put him on antibiotic but it never cleared up so they decided to drain the fluid off his lung..once they tested the fluid they found cancer cells and further tests found he was stage IIIB. After some research we found that the shoulder pain was actually caused by a chest tumor and fluid build up. If the shoulder pain could have been examined closer sooner, treatment could have started many years ago. I tell everyone I know who smokes and have a chronic cough, chest pain and/or shoulder pain to not let your doctor write it off..get a lung cancer screening..it's better to be sure early. Hope this helps....

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My husband and I both had the flu one weekend and Monday morning we were both feeling much better but he woke up with a cough. Since it was a very bad cough I assumed his "flu" had gone into pneumonia and I called the doctor. He went that Wednesday and was diagnosed with pneumonia. After the first round of antibiotics with no improvement he went back, had a second chest xray and was given more antibiotics by the nurse practitioner. That night though the doctor called and said he wanted Hugh to have a CAT scan. We caught his pretty soon after he had the first symptom but even then it was pretty wide spread (in his liver and bones).

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I started coughing in September. Mid-October I developed a fever, chills, etc. The doctor diagnosed pneumonia and put me on antibiotics, which helped. Said that the cough probably started because of allergies--we had just moved to East Texas in August. In January I went for my annual and the cough had never completely gone away. In my world, coughs have always lasted 6-8 weeks, but this was getting excessive. He sent me for a chest x-ray, just to make sure that pneumonia wasn't "trying to come back." I went back to the hospital in the afternoon to pick up the films and the radiologist came out and said, "I have already talked to your doctor and we would like you to do a CT scan of your chest. Since you're here now, we can go ahead and do it." That was a Tuesday, and by Friday I had a confirmed diagnosis and a referral to pulmonologist and surgeon in Houston.


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My Dad had a cough for a very long time. My Moms' oncologist (Mom was undergoing breast cancer treatment at that time) suggested that he get x-rays to rule out cancer. He had x-rays done in March 2002 that turned up negative. He also had pains in his hips and shoulder blades at that time that his regular doctor attributed to arthritis. He was given vioxx. My Mom had heart surgery June of 2002 and was in ICU for 6 weeks. During that time my Dad's pains intensified. But he never complained and we were also pre-occupied with my Mom who had severe complications with her heart surgery to notice anything wrong with my Dad. My Dad took care of my Mom the whole time she was in the hospital. Two days after my Mom came home, my Dad suffered a major stroke. A few days later he was diagnosed with lung cancer, NSCLC, stage IV and inoperable. He had extensive mets to the bones (hips, ribs, shoulders, etc) and the brain. He stayed in the hospital for 5 weeks until finally we decided to bring him home under hospice care. He passed away four days later while my Mom, my sister and myself were holding his hands and telling him how much we love him.

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My dad was mowing the lawn in April and was so out of breath he could not continue. He steadily got worse over the next few weeks. He then was worried about his heart, so had the treadmill test etc, but everything came back normal. Each day seemed to be worse. It finally came to a point that he could hardly talk without getting winded. He then had a chest x-ray which showed his right lung was "white". He then met with a lung specialist and his lung was drained. He had 9 lbs of fluid removed!!! No wonder he couldn't breathe!!! The fluid was then tested, which confirmed cancer. He also had a PET scan which showed cancer in several areas (bone mets). Thankfully, now he is in remission after five months of chemo!

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My husband went to the doctor for his blood pressure med. he had been taking for years, that was in April of 2002. Doctor took blood test something showed up either to high or to low can't remember which. He sent him for a colonoscopy. Everything checked out just fine. until November 2002 had shoulder pain and was given a shot for joint pain. December 2002 having trouble breathing doctor had him see a heart doctor who put him on a treadmill and thought he had heart problems sent him home with nitro. Finally doctor had him get a chest X-ray which didn't look good. We got a pulmonologist and had a bronchoscopy with biopsy and then on to a oncologist. Carolyn

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My husband experienced shoulder and upper arm pain. As a house painter by trade he could no longer use his arm and. when he went to the doctor, they told him it was artheritis and that he also had COPD. they did a chest xray which showed a suspicious mass in his lung. He was sent for a ct and mri then a bone biopsy on his shoulder/arm which confirmed nsclc stage IV.

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