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Thread: Ex smoker with fear of lung cancer

  1. #1

    Ex smoker with fear of lung cancer

    So Iím a 38 year old new mum with chronic health anxiety. My current ruminations revolve around lung cancer. Obviously it serves me right since I smoked since I was 20. I gave up at 30 but used an e cig until a year ago ( pregnancy). Iím worried about the e cig use as itís so easy to use it all the time. Itís strange really as I hated smoking until I went through a traumatic event and ended up hooked on nicotine. Anyway, I recently got a bunch of symptoms including weird headaches and back pain and muscle spasms and Iím convinced I have metastases. I suppose Iím just looking for some kind words as Iím scared and essentially hate myself for doing it to myself.

    Itís on my mind all the time and donít know how to stop.

    Thanking you all in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
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    314

    Re: Ex smoker with fear of lung cancer

    My husband died of lung cancer. He was 61. I think youíre too young to worry about it, but if your symptoms continue for a few weeks, a simple chest X-ray might be all you need to rule out cancer.

    My husbandís cancer was stage 4 when he was diagnosed. He took a pill with relatively few side effects (for chemo) that got rid of all the tumors in his body except for one. Unfortunately, that one tumor is what killed him.

    I currently have several friends who are still alive decades after their diagnoses. And, I just recently read that there have been some even more strides in lung cancer treatment over the last few years.

    Kudos to you on quitting smoking. As I said earlier, if your symptoms donít go away, see your doctor. Early diagnosis is key to living longer. I believe my husband would still be alive had he been diagnosed sooner.

    In case you are wondering, my husband had no symptoms until he became so sick he couldnít even feed himself on some days. He did start getting migraine auras from his brain tumors, but he didnít cough or have chest pain or anything. He had never smoked, so it took months for the docs to figure out what was happening. Lung cancer was the furthest thing from everyoneís mind.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
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    Re: Ex smoker with fear of lung cancer

    Quote Originally Posted by Louisa1983 View Post
    So Iím a 38 year old new mum with chronic health anxiety. My current ruminations revolve around lung cancer. Obviously it serves me right since I smoked since I was 20. I gave up at 30 but used an e cig until a year ago
    It is unlikely that you will have developed lung cancer at 38 yo, Louisa, especially a tumour so advanced that it has spread to the brain and back. Lung cancers are mostly cancers of older age, 50 plus with most cases beginning from 65 yo.

    As Cptdebbie said, the key to surviving LC is early detection so when you're around 50 yo talk to your GP about having regular chest x-rays every 2-3 years. That's what saved my life with a 10-12mm nodule detected by the second x-ray when I was 52. At that stage surgery is almost always curative, but the chances of surviving it drop greatly as the tumours become more advanced.

    Itís on my mind all the time and donít know how to stop.
    If your health anxiety isn't being treated now might be a good time to do something about it. It is a bigger risk factor than smoking. Anxiety/stress is the leading cause of premature death as it can trigger many of the behaviours (such as self medicating with nicotine) and diseases that hasten our demise.

  4. #4

    Re: Ex smoker with fear of lung cancer

    Thank you for sharing this personal story-Cptdebbie. I am very sorry to hear your husband passed away from it.

    I will be honest, I think I have burned my bridges with my doctor. Due to health anxiety! Frankly ( and I get why) sheís fed up of my frequent visits!
    Last edited by Louisa1983; 15-10-21 at 16:01.

  5. #5

    Re: Ex smoker with fear of lung cancer

    Iím very glad you got checked out panic_down_under I did get a CXR last October due to constant cough. Clear. But I have thought what you suggest is a good idea. And of course you are correct re anxiety/self med.

  6. #6

    Re: Ex smoker with fear of lung cancer

    Actually- youíre in Oz right? Out of interest is that an agreement you made with your doc? Just as I canít see mine agreeing to this ( NHS in UK)

  7. #7
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    Re: Ex smoker with fear of lung cancer

    Quote Originally Posted by Louisa1983 View Post
    Iím very glad you got checked out panic_down_under I did get a CXR last October due to constant cough. Clear.
    Most lung cancers grow relatively slowly so if you had the all clear a year ago it is unlikely one has grown big enough to have metastasised to the brain and now be large enough there to trigger headaches, etc.

    Actually- youíre in Oz right? Out of interest is that an agreement you made with your doc? Just as I canít see mine agreeing to this ( NHS in UK)
    GPs here have more latitude in prescribing than seems to be the case for their UK colleagues, plus we're not bound to one. If we have a mind to and enough time and cash there is nothing to stop us consulting every GP in the land. I also had other risk factors besides having smoked for about a decade which probably played a part, plus I'm a cranky old bugger who usually gets his way. My new GP seems okay with continuing with regular screenings. In fact my biggest issue with her is she is always wanting me to have more tests every time something a little unusual crops up which seems to be happening more often as I plunge ever further into the decrepitude of old age. She is gradually having every organ of my carcase evaluated in great detail. I can't wait till she gets to the one between my ears. Now that is really going to blow her mind!

    The NHS seems to be implementing lung cancer *screenings in some areas, albeit mostly with CT scans which may be excessive. Chest x-rays can pick up small stage I nodules and these days the radiation exposure they produce is tiny, about a quarter of that emitted during a mammogram which are considered an acceptable risk.


  8. #8

    Re: Ex smoker with fear of lung cancer

    Ahh I doubt youíre so old. At least your doctor is on the ball! A good thing. Not always so here! Itís true re screening but I donít meet criteria atm. Thanks for responding 😊

  9. #9

    Re: Ex smoker with fear of lung cancer

    I wonder if anyone else has similar worries to me. Or regrets.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    310

    Re: Ex smoker with fear of lung cancer

    I have the same worry about my mum. She was a smoker for years and now smokes an e cig. I also worry about COPD because she has a cough that doesnít seem to go away. But itís her choice to smoke I canít change that (trust me Iíve tried, getting her into E cigs was the best I could do). Lung cancer is still rare even in smokers. I have looked into this in detail. I also agree you are quite young and I it is very slow growing.

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