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Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 19320
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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, I am worried about lung cancer. I quit smoking recently,

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Hi, I am worried about lung cancer. I quit smoking recently, I am a 30 year old female. I smoked from about age 15, less than 10 a day, with probably a few years gap here and there.
Anyway, I had a cough and noticed a little bit of blood in my phlegm once, just a streak. My cough cleared up a few weeks ago. I seemed fine for a while, then I noticed some black bits in my mucus at the back of my throat. I try to draw up mucus in my throat by sucking really hard because ive got paranoid, but im not sure if it comes down my throat rather than up, it feels that way. Anyway, a few weeks later I once again saw a tiny bit of blood. This morning I woke up and there was thick yellow and brown mucus in my throat.
I would like to add that I do also get a lot of very thick clear mucus sat in my throat which is hard to get out. I don't know if it comes down or up. I don't want to rush to the doctors claiming I have lung cancer. Tests will only make me more paranoid.
Hello from JustAnswer.

It is very unusual for this amount of smoking to have caused cancer in a 30 year old. It typically takes a much longer period of time to develop lung cancer, particularly if you were smoking only ½ pack of cigarettes per day. The risk for lung cancer starts to increase after age 50.

It would be much more likely that the cough, mucus, and occasional blood is due to a bronchitis, inflammation of the airways of the lungs, usually from infection, although a smoker can develop a chronic bronchitis from the chemical irritation of cigarette smoke.

If it is a chemical bronchitis, then it will typically improve once the person successfully quit smoking. If there is an infectious bronchitis, it may require antibiotics to resolve.

If I can provide any further information, please let me know.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you. I do not have a cough anymore. But it is more likely that this is from my lungs rather than from my sinuses?

Do I need to be evaluated or wait to see for a few weeks from quitting?

I should not worry too much about lung cancer?

When someone coughs up phlegm with a little blood, it is most likely from the lungs, which is why I said that it is more likely bronchitis. It is possible that it could be from the sinuses, but this would be less likely.

It would be fine to give it a few weeks to be evaluated, particularly since some of the symptoms have already improved.

Even if the symptoms persist, you should not worry about lung cancer. Persistent symptoms should be checked, but it would be more important to decide whether antibiotic or a course of steroids to ease inflammation are needed, not because of a concern about lung cancer.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi, thanks sorry one more point. I am not coughing it up, in fact I feel I have no cough at all, it is just sat in my throat. Sometimes I can see there is mucus running down the back of my throat, which is why I asked about sinuses. So even with no cough it is likely from the lungs?

In your original question, you said "I had a cough and noticed a little bit of blood in my phlegm once" which would typically come from the lungs. If there is only mucus in the throat, that could be coming from the sinuses.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes I origionally noticed it when I had a cough. But my cough has been cleared up for weeks, it's just mucus in my throat, I just didn't know if it comes up from the lungs or down from sinuses. I have no cough anymore

If it started with a cough and phlegm, then it is more likely from the lungs, even as the cough is improving.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Even after weeks with no cough at all? I only had a cough for about three days and it was about a month ago now

The usual cleaning method of the lungs is to move mucus up to the throat. As I noted above, it is more likely from the lungs, but it also could be from the sinuses.
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