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"Can coughing be a symptom of breast cancer?"

ZocdocAnswersCan coughing be a symptom of breast cancer?

Question

Is coughing considered a symptom of breast cancer? I'm only 23 but I'm extremely cautious about breast cancer since three women in my family have had it. So far, I have never had any irregularities, but I do have a mysterious cough. Is there any reason to think it's related?

Answer

Because you have a family history of breast cancer, you will likely need additional monitoring to insure that any lesions are found early and dealt with. In the case of a cough, it is very unlikely that it could be related to breast cancer. We do see patients with a cough associated with breast cancer that has metastasized to the lungs, but you would likely see other symptoms of metastatic disease (weight loss, shortness of breath, perhaps a breast mass). Thus it is possible, but extremely unlikely that there is a connection between your cough and breast cancer. A chronic cough can have many different causes including asthma, smoking, and post-nasal drip. If your cough continues, you should be evaluated for asthma and post nasal drip since both are treatable conditions. If you are taking a drug for blood pressure known as an ACE inhibitor (such as Lisinopril), then you should be switched to a different drug because it can cause a cough. I would schedule an appointment with your primary care physician while you are having the cough to get it evaluated. I would also get a referral to a breast cancer geneticist for evaluation. They can take a detailed look at your family history and define what your risk is and recommend a suitable screening plan. Good luck.

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