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Readers Respond: What Symptoms Led to Your Diagnosis of Lung Cancer?

Responses: 42


Updated April 24, 2009

My beautiful V

In March of this year, my mother was dx kidney cancer metastasis lungs( Stage IV). Everyday I shake my head several times because I can not believe a woman who never smoked, drinked, lived well, and just started her life @ 59 is living with this demon in her. Its a struggle to call her and hear how much pain she has been in each day, but I do because its a must. My heart aches all the time just thinking about it. Family such as older sister, aunts, cousins, her father, etc. do not go visit her, and its heart wrenching, and live so close to her. I live on the otherside of the country, but I have been there this past summer with my son, and leaving two weeks from now. We are seeking an 2nd opinion soon, but please keep us in prayer. He does produce miracles. I-J-N, Amen.

Whistling and Wheezing

around new years 2009 -10 a friend noticed i have a whistle sound when i breath . two weeks later i was carrying a mattress up a fire escape and i wheezed loudly. that was my upper left lung collasping i found out 2 months later when i finally went in to see a doc . the tumour was growing at the entrance to my left lung and pinching my air flow causing the whistle and the collasped lung .it hadnt spread but i had a large tumour. they gave me radiation and chemo had lung removed, im ok now but had a pet scan today because a lymph node near my right lung has grown a little . get the results tuesday im worried of course.
—Guest marty

Pulmonary nodule 2cm

I had chest pain which sent me to A&E in Feb, chest x-ray negative, had my heart checked negative, seen a neurologist who did MRI negative, loads of blood tests all negative...been fatigued for 8 months and a dry hacking cough and also shoulder and neck pain that cones and goes. Finally had another chest x ray after swollen lymph nodes hadn't gone down after 4 months. X ray found a 2cm nodule on left lung. Just had a lymph node biopsy and having full body CT with contrast on Monday...have everything crossed that it's not cancer...yes I am a smoker but since the last x ray I gave up...your stories have given me the courage and strength to get through this and wish you all well x
—Guest Lottelulu

Lung Cancer Symptoms

My first symptom was a persistent cough and fatique for a few weeks. I began to get feverish and have the chills along with the cough and fatigue. Then to the left of my right shoulder blade I started have pain which turned to sharp stabing pain which worsened if massaged. Within the next hours I started to have the sharp pain in the right side of my chest also. If felt like I was being stabbed from chest to back at this point. I could hardly walk up the two flights of stairs to tuck my children into bed. I was diagnosed with pneumonia at the emergency room that evening but was also told that there was a mass blocking the entry way to my right lung. A few days later I was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer.
—Guest Lisa Wheeler

lung cancer synptoms

Pain in right knee then in my ankles then in my hip turned out to be nsclc.
—Guest pauline smith

Both parents with lung cancer

My parents were diagnosed with non small cell lung cancer stage 4 within 6 weeks of each other. Dad had symptoms of pneumonia. We were all helping him deal with it and then out of nowhere mom had a seizure- found to be brain mets from lung cancer. They are helping each other through it but it is SO hard. Such a long road ahead.
—Guest sad daughter

Leg Pain

I was on vacation, and noticed my feet and legs swollen, I was feeling fatigued. When I came back from vacation, my children brought me to the hospital, I had a chest X ray and was diagnosed with stage IV Lung cancer, I was given 6 months to live, this was on 15. Nov. 2006, I'm still here, 6 years later. I have had chemo, 36 radiation treatments, "Tarceva", I'm on no treatments now, I feel wonderful, you just have to stay strong, I have wonderful Dr, they have given me lots of xtra time with Lung Cancer. I'm a Survivor.
—Guest Rene

Be Your Own Advocate

3 yrs ago,I had a pulled muscle sensation on the right side of my neck when taking a deep breath. Smoked for 30 yrs. but had quit18 yrs ago. Had x-ray, negative. Feeling persisted. Had thyroid ultrasound, negative. Feeling persisted.Told PCP I need to get to bottom of this because it shouldn't persist. PCP said that rotator cuff injuries don't heal & it's probably something like that. I had him set up an appointment with a thoracic surgeon & had a CT scan. Went to surgeon's office ALONE to discuss results & was told that I had lung cancer. It was staged 3A. This was Jan.2011 My (now ex) PCP said that he didn't order a CT scan because "the U.S. Task Force" doesn't recommend it. i.e. the insurance companies. (It is NOW recommended for at risk patients) It didn't appear on the x-ray because it was very high up in my upper right lobe. Had chemo, surgery at Dana Farber & then radiation. Moral of story: follow your instincts!
—Guest guestlaurie

The Wife

My husband had no symptoms except 2 1/2 wks of pneumonia in Jan. 2012, with back pain. When the "P" was over and still had back pain docs did a chest x-ray, MRI, and blood tests. First they told us multiple myloma but later determined it was non-small cell lung cancer carcinoma and it had matastisized to his thoratic spine and his liver. In March he lost his voice (possible pressure on a nerve or tumor touching his vocal chords)and in April, 12 days in the hospital with pneumonitis. Because of a mutated gene he can take "Tarceva" a targeted cancer treatment pill, which he takes every morn on an empty stomach and he had 13 Radiation treatments. He is weak, shaky, on 8 L of oxygen and needs assistance with walking with a walker, going to the RR and even getting dressed. He needs a wheelchair when visiting a doc. It's so hard seeing a farmer doing it all in Jan. to being so dependent on everyone in a matter of months. We don't know how much time we have but are making the best of it

bronchitis and shortness of breath

3 weeks ago sunday i went to the ER for bronchitis/shortness of breath worsening over several days. they did a chest x-ray and said i had a large mass on my right lung that was significantly larger than it was on an x-ray from 2008 and i should see my doctor the very next day. since then i have had CTscans, CT-guided needle biopsy, brain scan and PET scan - have recieved a preliminary diagnosis of a fist-sized tumor of non-small cell lung cancer in my chest. today they'll tell me if/where it has traveled. based on all that, what they can offer me in the way of treatment and prognosis. can't begin to explain to you how i felt/feel when i learned at the ER there was a chance 4 years ago to catch/stop this but someone dropped the ball and didn't bother to tell the patient and no one else seemed to care. The lesson here: ALWAYS follow-up on your own medical tests - don't assume they'll get in touch if a problem is indicated. assuming has sure made an ass out of me, hasn't it??!
—Guest rita

See a Doctor Regularly

After reading everyone's story I wanted to cry. My dad could do anything. He was building a new house - by himself - and had just retired from Ford two years previous. He began taking naps during the day but as he was 67, my brothers and sisters and I shrugged it off to advancing age. One day, after carrying a bag of dry cement, he went into his house because he was so fatigued and he felt his heart racing. My youngest sister lives only 1/2 mile away and brought him to the hospital that I work at. When I met them downstairs in the ER I was told he was in afib. I thought, no problem. I work in the cardiac field so I knew there were many options available. However, an xray showed pleural effusion and a pet scan showed a mass in the right lung. After being in the hospital for 3 days they told him he had stage 4 lung cancer. What puzzles me is that besides fatigue he stated he had no other symptoms and after only 17 days in the hospital he died on a ventilator. God Bless all of you.

Shoulder Pain

On Sunday October 11, 2011, I surpassed 2,000 miles on my bike for the year. The following day, I did the Bronx Cheer and felt a terrible pain in my shoulder. My doctor diagnosed it as rotater cuff tendinitis and told me to keep moving it. After a week, my wife made me get a second opinion. The orthopedic thought the collar bone was broken and sent me to get a CT Scan to be sure. He called back 2 hours later to say that I had a spot on my lung and enlarged lymph nodes. I then had a PET Scan. Afterwards, the dr said it didn't look too bad and we would just wait for 4-6 weeks and do another scan. A friend at work took the scans to a radiologist at a cancer hospital who got me into to an orthopedic oncologist. He scheduled a biopsy for Monday after the long Thanksgiving weekend. Took a walnut sized tumor out of my collarbone. Will have 2nd chemo tomorrow. Stage IV lung cancer. Editors note: Thank you for sharing your story so others can be alert to symptoms that aren't obvious as signs of lung cancer. My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family as I send positive energy your way. Shoulder pain - while more likely to be a symptom of a another condition, can be a symptoms of lung cancer.
—Guest Chuck

I thought i had a sinus infection.......

I thought I had what was a sinus infection headache. Nothing too bad that a simple ibuprophen couldn't take care of. After 11 weeks of this nuisance headache, I decided to go to the dr. for a prescription. Instead, she sent me for a CT scan because my headaches sometimes woke me up in the middle of the night. The next morning, she called me to tell me the results of my CT scan. She said that they found multiple lesions in my brain that had come from another source. She then sent me to the hospital for further testing. They found a lung cancer, adenocarcinoma was my diagnosis. Since that time, I have undergone 10 radiation treatments and so far, 1 chemo treatment of 4 scheduled. It's amazing that I have all this BAD stuff going on inside my body and I feel really good. If it hadn't been for the headache, I never would have gone to the dr. I just wonder how all this can be going on inside a persons body and them not have a clue. I'm thankful that I went to the dr when I did.
—Guest Sondra

Insensitive Drs

I'd like to let all drs know thats its not alright to tell your husband that he's got lung cancer at visiting time when he was alone after i'd arranged to meet the dr previously....all the visitors heard this news and heard my husband crying.the cancer had left my husband mute so he couldnt even ask questions the awful awful dr i hate him. Editors note: I am so sorry and sad to hear this happened to you. It is a good reminder to others to talk with your doctor and the hospital staff as a family and arrrange to hear any news when you are not alone. Unfortunately, it sounds like you took the needed steps and were an advocate for your husband, and he still was left alone to receive the news. I am glad you are speaking out here. The only way doctors will change is to see the effect that insensitivity and rushing has upon people living with the disease.
—Guest cameos

Repeated Cough, Breathlessness and fever

My dad was diagnosed with COPD 5 years back. He did have the cough earlier to that and had been a smoker for 40 years 2 packs a day which he quit 5 years ago. Then a couple of months ago he had recurring bouts of cough and fever and breathlessness and initially the X rays were taken and diagnosis was possible Pneumonia. Next month when the fever returned, X Ray was taken and CT scan suggested that indicated possible cancer in the lung. Followed up with Broncoscopy biopsy and confirmed with PET scan. If you have smoked, have a doctor monitor your X Rays atleast each year. He started on Tarceva 150mg due to reservations with Chemo due to ill health and this turned out to be too much due to side effects - rashes, severe stomach ache , dry mouth and total loss of appetite. It has made my dad almost immobile, weak and fatigued and now on constant oxygen. Looking at reducing the dosage of Tarceva and other options.
—Guest rs67

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