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young adult with chest pains
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young adult with chest pains

I am a 20 year old male and for about two months I have been having these strange pains in my chest, it is pretty mild but happens several times a day. I was smoking for only about 4 months and stopped as soon as I began getting these pains. On a 1-10 scale, the pain is a 4, almost feels like a deep cramp you would get from exercise. They happen in about 3 places in my chest, the upper part of my sternum, and the lower and mid sections of my right ribs. At first I thought it was just a muscle strain, but the pain feels too deep and it's been happening for too long. I have looked everywhere for lung cancer symptoms and I haven't had any cough, shortness of breath or fever, but my throat has now been very sore for a few days in addition to the pains in my chest.

About two weeks ago I had a blood work and a chest x-ray and both came back normal, but my doctor does want to follow up in a couple of weeks. My great-grandmother passed away from lung cancer about 2 years ago, and my mother does have asthma, so lung complications aren't anything new in my family.

I know I'm probably just being paranoid but I was hoping to get some suggestions as to what I should ask my doctor or what steps to take to find out the source of these pains.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi,
It would be best if you discussed with your doctor your symptoms at length and what expectations there are with the tests that were recommended.

In general, it is very rare to develop lung cancer at your age. So this may not be among the priorities in terms of investigation.

Try to see which specific actions trigger the symptoms and if there are associated aches and pains. Pay attention as to any temporal patterns in which the symptoms tend to be worse at particular times of day or days of the week, specific places that trigger the problem as the condition may be due to an irritant you are exposed to.

Evaluate also your risks for exposure to chronic diseases like tuberculosis.

Of course, the symptoms may not really be in the lung at all - with this in mind - the direction is to examine the liver and other organs near the diaphragm.
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Dr. Heinrik,

I am a 26 year old male, in good health, however recently I have been thinking alot about the results of my chest x-ray which showed small nodules on them. My Dr hasn't said anything except that they could be anything and he is sending me for a ct scan. I have been healthly all my life, did alot of sporting events and was a cross country runner for quite a number of years. I do have asthma, but have never had anything wired show up on my x-ray. I am really worried. Base on what I researched on the net, it doesn't seem like people my age, non-smoker usually get lung cancer. I don't know how big the nodules are, or have I seen the X-ray, but my Dr did say he thinks it might be remants of TB or maybe an infection of some sort. This is really affecting me mentally as I am also in my early stages of training to be a health care professional. I am not really sure what to make of things for the time being. Do you possibly think this may be lung cancer?
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Dr. Heinrik,


I just wanted to also provide some info on on this came about. During the Christmas holidays, I started to get a terrible headache (and at times fever) which lasted for about a week and something, which I took Advil 1 or 2 times a day. Following that event, sudden chest pains started manifest itself, especially in the mornings and at bed time, I basically had to hold my chest at times so it wouldn't hurt so much (I suspected it might have something to do with heart problems, but that wasn't the case). Then following those events, early in January, I began to cough alot. I first suspected by annual asthma problems, however it felt very different. I started to feel shortness of breath and a constant urge to cough (which I still do today). So the acute cough at first began to get worst and then I decided it was time to go see the doctor. So I did and he was telling me everything was normal, however I insisted on getting an x-ray, which I did. Then the dreadful results came back with my doctor saying that there appears to be nodules on your lungs (and as I mentioned above, he doesn't know or can tell what it is, except that he said it might be remnants of TB, or it could be anything, even cancer, he's just not sure...and will be referring me to get a CT scan). Although I am very worried, given what I described, do you think its more likely an infection or remnants of TB, or are those symptoms of lung cancer developing?....I did get a TB test sometimes in august after returning from vacation in Asia, however, the results were fine (I had to get this done for preparing to enter professional school). I am not sure what to think, but it’s hard to concentrate on anything. Thank you for your inputs.
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Dr. Heinrik,


I just wanted to also provide some info on on this came about. During the Christmas holidays, I started to get a terrible headache (and at times fever) which lasted for about a week and something, which I took Advil 1 or 2 times a day. Following that event, sudden chest pains started manifest itself, especially in the mornings and at bed time, I basically had to hold my chest at times so it wouldn't hurt so much (I suspected it might have something to do with heart problems, but that wasn't the case). Then following those events, early in January, I began to cough alot. I first suspected by annual asthma problems, however it felt very different. I started to feel shortness of breath and a constant urge to cough (which I still do today). So the acute cough at first began to get worst and then I decided it was time to go see the doctor. So I did and he was telling me everything was normal, however I insisted on getting an x-ray, which I did. Then the dreadful results came back with my doctor saying that there appears to be nodules on your lungs (and as I mentioned above, he doesn't know or can tell what it is, except that he said it might be remnants of TB, or it could be anything, even cancer, he's just not sure...and will be referring me to get a CT scan). Although I am very worried, given what I described, do you think its more likely an infection or remnants of TB, or are those symptoms of lung cancer developing?....I did get a TB test sometimes in august after returning from vacation in Asia, however, the results were fine (I had to get this done for preparing to enter professional school). I am not sure what to think, but it’s hard to concentrate on anything. Thank you for your inputs.
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