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Lung Cancer Scare

Hypomania

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Hey everyone,

First time here (usually around No More Panic and was on Anxiety Central until that site just stopped working) and I'm hoping others have experienced things that I have.

So over the years I've had a bunch of different health scares, none legitimate, but at the time they felt very very real: throat cancer, colon cancer, lymphoma (multiple times), liposarcoma, testicular cancer, and pancreatic cancer and my latest, lung cancer.

I have a very high stress job at one of the world's largest tech companies that demands a lot of my time, and recently I began feeling pretty drained, most likely due to lack of sleep that was accumulating. Even though there's a logical explanation, I was thinking that there's definitely a blood or oxygen issue going on. I go on vacation, and I feel refreshed, leading me to believe that it was just overworked.

However, I started getting feelings like heaviness/tightness in the chest and the sensation that I wasn't able to draw full breaths. Not really the shortness of breath feeling, like gasping for air, but more just a discomfort and new awareness of my breathing (plus I'm asthmatic, kind of -never had tests done, but doctors have been giving me inhalers my whole life lol- so I've been short of breath before with exercise, allergies, colds, cold weather, etc). My throat also felt tight,and had a sensation like my throat was partially blocking my air when I would breath deeply. That sensation had come and gone and wasn't present during the whole vacation nor was it present constantly when I got back (3 or 4 times since).

That was the initial sensation that kicked off the lung cancer fear, as I started picturing a tumor taking up space on my lungs, which was giving me the sensation of incomplete breaths.

Second was my wheezing. Again, I'm asthmatic, so I've had a mild wheeze my whole life with periods of labored breathing, all have been resolved by inhalers. However, I now associate it with cancer for some reason. I'm imagining in this scenario that the tumor is obstructing my airway and the wheeze is the air pushing past it. Despite having this for years, even situations where I'd take a couple puffs to relieve the labored breaths, the wheeze would remain slightly. This is "normal" for me,but now I'm certain it's a tumor.

Third, my awareness of my breathing makes me constantly think I'm not getting enough air in regular situations. Like I'll notice when I inhale/exhale and start to dictate it manually and then say to myself "I'm not getting air here, I need to breath harder" which leads me to believe there's an issue with my lungs. Even after vigorous exercise my mind races: "am I winded too quickly? Am I tired because my body is fighting cancer?" When I do regular things like gon up stairs or walk around I'm constantly monitoring my breath to serif I'm out of breath, but I always think I should be getting more, which reinforces the intrusive thought.

I went to a doc this morning and explained my symptoms. I even had an audible wheeze going. She listened to my lungs and said she heard no wheezing at all and that the audible wheeze is from my upper airway/throat,which Ventolin does not affect. She told me that lung cancer patients have difficulty breathing in specific positions (she mention while laying down, specifically) and was reassured when I told her that when I get SOB it's not positional. She said that lung cancer wheezing/SOB is not relieved with asthma medication, while mine are. She took my blood oxygen levels, and they were normal, so I AM getting enough air. She was not concerned in the least about the idea of cancer, and was reluctant to send me for PFTs to get asthma formally diagnosed, but have me a requisition because I insisted.

I also have no other symptoms of note: no cough (just a ton of throat clearing from post nasal drip), no coughing up blood, no dyspnea at rest, no dyspnea when laying flat, no pneumonia like symptoms, and none of the weird heart symptoms.

Despite all of this, I'm still pretty terrified. I actually had a mini panic attack when I got home, where the heaviness, and labored quick breathing came back. I don't really know what to do.
 

Vandelsrock21

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Whats up hypo. I have been there. I went to the hospital for a stomach illness. I took a mri of my abdomen. The doctor came in and said stomach looks fine but there is a white area in your lungs. I immediately thought **** its cancer from working around rock and concrete dust. It i worried for weeks. Finally the day came to look at the area again. I didn't go. Its been four years since that. I had a cough and pain when i breathed all that. The anxiety made it worse than it was.
 

Bhawesh

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Whats up hypo. I have been there. I went to the hospital for a stomach illness. I took a mri of my abdomen. The doctor came in and said stomach looks fine but there is a white area in your lungs. I immediately thought **** its cancer from working around rock and concrete dust. It i worried for weeks. Finally the day came to look at the area again. I didn't go. Its been four years since that. I had a cough and pain when i breathed all that. The anxiety made it worse than it was.
What's that white area in your lungs?
 

Hypomania

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Whats up hypo. I have been there. I went to the hospital for a stomach illness. I took a mri of my abdomen. The doctor came in and said stomach looks fine but there is a white area in your lungs. I immediately thought **** its cancer from working around rock and concrete dust. It i worried for weeks. Finally the day came to look at the area again. I didn't go. Its been four years since that. I had a cough and pain when i breathed all that. The anxiety made it worse than it was.
That would have sent me into overdrive. Glad to hear it was ok.

I guess with all of the breathing issues it's sometimes tough for me to distinguish what is anxiety or not
 

sTeaLth

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I get the same thing! Sometimes accompanied by tightness in my chest and neck. All of this while I can always feel my esophagus. My current fear is esophagus cancer. It’s so silly how it all started, as they all do. Yet I can’t shake the thought it could be real this time. I hate this trend.
 

Hypomania

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I feel tightness in my throat too! It's so annoying. I'll get that tight throat feeling with some chest tightness that makes me think I'm having breathing issues.

I actually felt it at work yesterday and had to leave early. Got home and had a mini panic attack. Just sitting up feeling like it was hard to breath with my throat closing over.
 

Bobnnat

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Hypo, may I ask whether you smoke or ever did? 90+% of LC is due to smoking and 2nd hand smoking.
 

Hypomania

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Hey Bob, nice to see you on this forum as well!

No, I'm not a smoker (never smoker) and haven't lived in a second hand smoke environment since I was a kid (early 30s now), and even then my exposure to second hand smoke was limited as my dad made efforts to smoke outside.

I realize I'm very low risk, but I can't help but think the worst. My mind always goes there. And now, ever since the doc asked if I had trouble breathing laying down, I've been monitoring that as well, and was pretty sure it was more difficult for me when I did lay down...
 

Hypomania

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So, today got home and cleared my throat and some blood was in the spit. Kind of freaking out about it.

I know that technically I didn't cough it out, but when I feel like something is really jammed in my throat I take a deep(ish) breath and use the air to forcefully clear my throat. I'm worried the deep breath brought the blood up from my lungs...
 

matisworried

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I'm guessing the amount of blood was minimal. while it could be from your throat, it could also easily be from your mouth (or your nose.) even if it's from your throat, that's not all that uncommon... especially this time of year. the simple act of forcefully clearing your throat can rupture tiny blood vessels. it's really not a big deal. I've got severe reflux (which can also cause all of your symptoms, if you've never considered it) and i constantly cough/clear my throat. I've had this happen before.
 

Hypomania

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Actually, I do have reflux. And you're correct, the blood was very minimal. First time it happened it was a speck, but today it was a bit more, but I guess still minimal.

In my head, I keep debating whether my forceful throat clearing actually counts as some sort of cough... It's really a ridiculous rabbit hole, but I'm having trouble shaking it.
 

SandraLee88

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I feel tightness in my throat too! It's so annoying. I'll get that tight throat feeling with some chest tightness that makes me think I'm having breathing issues.

I actually felt it at work yesterday and had to leave early. Got home and had a mini panic attack. Just sitting up feeling like it was hard to breath with my throat closing over.
I’m feeling this way right now , it’s so hard part of me thinks it’s real that I’m not breathing right and then I blame my anxiety so I really don’t know !
 

bin_tenn

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Are you Hypo27 on NMP or no?

Even positional exacerbations of shortness of breath are not immediately indicative of cancer or other lung disease. It's just one of many possible symptoms, same as any other sort of cancer. I sometimes feel short of breath while lying down, and other times I feel it when I'm up and moving around, and sometimes when I lean forward. Still no cancer.

Throat clearing and coughing (especially in the context of lung cancer) are not synonymous. I have GERD and I also have constant throat clearing. It can lead to irritation of the very sensitive tissue in the throat. Chronic post nasal drip (which I also have) can irritate the throat and the nose. Those things can easily lead to enough irritation to produce a bit of blood in mucus/phlegm.
 
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