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Fullness in windpipe - CT scan

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Good afternoon,

I usually have a cough for 6 months of the year, going back five/six years. This year I noticed that blowing my nose and coughing up phlegm sometimes contained blood. As this continued for a while I went to a doctor, particularly as my chest had started feeling tight and I'd been getting out of breath easier than usual.

The doctor sent me for a chest x-ray and the results have led to me being asked to go back for a chest CT scan in just under two weeks as there was a 'fullnes' by my windpipe. The doctor said that worst case scenario it could be lung cancer but that she'd have thought my appointment would be much sooner if they were worried this was the case.

I know internet diagnosis is never healthy but a lot of sites seem to say that once you're asked to attend a CT chest scan it's because you've already been diagnosed with cancer, is this the case?

What could this scan show up if not lung cancer?

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replied February 6th, 2010
Lungs and Respiratory Disorders Answer A9792
Hi and welcome to the forum! I am glad that I can help you.

You would like to know whether you may be experiencing lung cancer.

A CT scan is usually done to distinguish the difference between certain kinds of conditions by having a better visual picture of the location, the borders and the density of the change. Lung cancer may be peripheral or centrally situated in the lung tissue and visualized with a native RTG chest scan. In the lung tissue there could be metastasis from other types of cancers. There is also bronchial cancer which grows in the lumen of the windpipe usually where it divides into two bronchi. This type of cancer may cause persistent and non-productive coughing. In other lung conditions that can also be visualized with a CT scan like abscesses, echinococus cyst and tuberculum symptoms like coughing pus(abcess), coughing salty and colorless liquid(echinococus cyst) and persistent cough sometimes mixed with blood, mildly increased body temperature and appetite and weight loss(tuberculosis) may appear. With the CT scan doctors can distinguish where exactly the changes are located: in the lymph nodes near both bronchi (which may indicate cancer, infection or tuberculosis), in front of the windpipe in the upper part (which may indicate thymoma) etc.

According to the data that you described, you may or may not be experiencing lung cancer. The chances of having lung cancer at your age being a non-smoker are small. However, you may consider seeing a thoracic surgeon to rule out thymoma or abscess. You may also consider having a Mantoux test to rule out tuberculosis.

Please keep in mind that I provide medical information only. I am not able to diagnose medical conditions online. Please contact your doctor for further advice and information about diagnosis and treatment of your current condition.

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