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Definition of Pulmonary Fibrosis

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Updated June 13, 2014

Definition:

Pulmonary fibrosis is a scarring of the lungs due to chronic inflammation.

There are many causes of pulmonary fibrosis, including infections, exposure to toxic substances (such as asbestos), allergies, and radiation therapy. In some cases, no cause can be identified, a condition known as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Symptoms often begin with shortness of breath during exercise. Other common symptoms include a dry cough, chest pain, and palpitations.

With lung cancer, pulmonary fibrosis occurs most often as a side effect of radiation therapy, and it may develop months to years after radiation treatments are completed.

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