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Pain in ONE spot in chest when breathing deep or coughing
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Pain in ONE spot in chest when breathing deep or coughing

History:
I am 28, have smoked a pack a day since the age of 18.  I have always coughed up mucus clear/yellow/thick/sticky.  

--For the past 1 1/2 months I have had a pain in one spot in the left side of my chest about two inches above my breast in location.  It feels interior in nature.  It does not hurt while breathing normally, coughing shallowly, or upon movement of any kind.  It hurts when taking a deep breath at the end of the inhalation and when exhaling at the end of the exhale and also when coughing deeply.  For the last week, this pain radiates through to my back in the corresponding spot.

--It feels like the only mucus being coughed up comes from the left side of my chest.  In morning it feels as though there is fluid in the exact spot of the pain, and it crackles when I breath.  Some of this clears with several coughs, but it never feels totally clear in this one spot (it always feels like there is more to cough up out of that spot).  
--Other symptoms I have had lately include: metal taste in mouth, cramping in lower abdomen at times (esp in morning), night sweats on chest/neck area only(3 times).  NONE OF MY SYMPTOMS WORSEN AFTER PO INTAKE & I'M NOT ON ANY MEDICATION!

--I went to the doctor 6 wks ago, who upon exam said he heard "gurgling" in the spot I pointed to.  X-ray was neg for anything.  He said he thought I had pulled a muscle in the lining of my lungs or chest or something and that it may last up to 4 wks.  It has been 6 wks with no improvement.  What is wrong with me, and what should I do?  I am afraid this is cancer? Sound probable? Thanks
Related Discussions
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Clearly the most important thing that you can do for yourself is to quit smoking and never smoke again!  You may want to look at our Quit Smoking Topic Center at http://www.nationaljewish.org/topic/smoking_cessation.html for ways to quit smoking.  Also check with your doctor for other quit smoking resources in your area.

The pain you describe sounds like pleurisy.  This is inflammation or irritation of the pleura, the sac that holds the lungs.  This can cause pain, which is felt more with deep breathing and coughing.  Thus the chest x-ray might be negative for anything, at least initially.

Since it has been 6 weeks with no improvement you need a repeat chest x-ray to be read by a radiologist or pulmonologist.  To figure out what is wrong with you I would recommend that you see a pulmonologist.  You may need a CT scan and/or a bronchoscopic exam.
4 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I truly understand your concern with thinking of having Lung Cancer, do you know why? because I have the exact symptoms you do and I also think everyday that I have lung cancer. I'm very sorry that you might have thought that I had some type of answer but I honestly don't. I am really afraid of going and getting tested for cancer but I have to go and you should go and get the worrying over. I have had some mucus with a little trace of blood in the mornings and that really has me terrified. I smoke about a pack a day and unfortunetly also have diabetes type 2 what a combination. Well this first thing that you and I both need to do is go and get tested it is the only way that we will know. I also was told that I may have pulled a muscle but I doubt that. I hope to hear from you soon.
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Avatar_n_tn
You have been smoking for ten years, so you will, like any smoker have an over abundance of phlegm, it is probably one of the biggest reasons smokers want to quit, that and the constant chest infections, colds etc.  As a former smoker (not long off) I understand the pains chestwise, this often happened after smoking too many, but sometimes it feels as though the lungs are coming out through the ribcage. It is positive that your X-ray was negative and clear.  You have perhaps pulled a muscle or maybe putting some strain on a rib, but take heart the lung X-ray is clear - a good sign - Go back to your Doctor and explain your worries, tell them how much you smoke ask them is the affects of your smoking shown in your x-ray - the Doctor obvioulsy wasn't too worried about your situation, but you are, to me cutting down on the cigs may help, look at it this way, you are getting a fright about your health and you are putting that down in no small ammount to your smoking habits, if you cut back, try to phase them out it can only be for the good of your lungs, at the moment after x-ray they seem in okay condition.
I know how extremely hard it is to quit, I gave them up for a year, nearly died from Asthma, gained 3 stone and went back on them, they are harder to kick than Herion, but some of us just suffer as smokers, even after giving up we are the type of people who can't abide someone smoking whilst we eat or near where we work.  Some smokers never suffer whilst others suffer all the time - try a few days and see how your pains feel without them, it may give you the answer - but talk to your doc aswell and make sure this pain gets seen to.


j


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Avatar_n_tn
So, how is everyone getting on with their pains then?  Any appointments with the doctor set up?  

i've been told i'm crazy. & for a few years i was believing that it was all in my head - but you know, my body is screaming at me now, telling me i've got to stop damaging it.

i'm sorry that i have no answer either - just the same complaint. it's been with me for four years now (i'm 26 now) & over the past two months it was unrelenting excruciating pain on the upper front right side with a bit on the left too. Feels like constant ache then like a toothache in my chest - nerve damage or something!?! Hurts when i breath, i have no cough, but starting to feel a little chesty now.  Also hurts when i drink or eat something cold (but not in my oesophagus). Now it's getting faster - radiating to my back & sides & lower front rib area (mostly back & chest though).

Verdict? - there is none.  Going through a very slow process of elimination.  CXR clear & had to make an appointment with a respiratory specialist for this Thursday.  My gp sent me to a rheumatologist & she reckons it's fybromyalgia.

Anyhows, all i can say is that i know what it is to worry every day that you're developing lung cancer.  But just because your doctor says that it's not lung cancer, that doesn't mean that you're not developing it or that it won't be some day.  So, quit smoking completely  - why? because you can't do it anymore - your body is telling you - listen to it and just hope it's not too late. (i'm off the dreaded fags 1 month now)

Let me know how you all get on with your investigations.  i know it's difficult, but try not to lose your mind - & remember, you pay the doctor for a service - it's your life - don't be fobbed off & demand some answers.
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A related discussion, The Easy Way to Stop Smoking - Really! was started.
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A related discussion, Is it my lung? was started.
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