Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Could my bronchitis really be lung cancer?"
I am a 45 year old male smoker and think I have bronchitis. On the other hand, it oculd be lung cancer. How can I know the difference in signs?
The unfortunate problem with smoking (in addition to the many negative health effects it has, including heart, lung, and other complications) is that you begin to wonder if every sign and symptom that you experience is an indication that you have a hidden cancer growing somewhere. Unfortunately, in order to confirm that you simply have bronchitis rather than something more serious, you will need to speak to your primary care doctor who might choose to order an x-ray. Smokers are more likely to have bronchitis than are non-smokers, in part because of the fact that the many toxins in tobacco smoke impair the lung's ability to clean themselves of the junk that is in the air. Additionally, it impairs the lung's ability to fight infection. Generally, bronchitis will resolve over time, while lung cancer would be expected to have more and more symptoms and problems. Associated complaints such as weight loss, night sweats, fatigue, etc would also make it more concerning that you might have a malignant cause of your cough. Please discuss your concerns and symptoms with your primary care doctor, and also please discuss with him or her your desire to stop smoking and start living a healthier lifestyle.
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