Anxious about my father's health.

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 My father has had a cough for around 4 months now. It doesn't happen while he's sleeping, and there is no discharge. So of course, I googled what could cause chronic coughs. The first result was throat cancer. I didn't think much of it as my father had no other symptoms. 

Last month, his lymph nodes got swollen. Then I started to worry. Swollen lymph nodes were definitely a symptom of throat cancer. I urged my father to go to the doctor, which he did. The doctor thought it was just an infection, but once my father brought up the coughing, he was sent for a throat ultrasound. It came back clean, but then he was sent for a chest x-ray as well. Clean. 

So the doctor prescribed my father some antibiotics as the lymph nodes were likely due to an infection, and the coughing was said to be due to allergies. Well, the doctor was right about the lymph nodes just being infected. They went down after a few days. However, my father is still coughing all the time. He has no other symptoms, but i'm still worried that the x-ray missed something. My aunt was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer that spread to the bone last month even though she had a mammogram which missed the tumour. I'm now afraid that my father may have the same issue. 

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  • Posted

    Hi Yang...yes hospitals, labs make mistakes...SO if you feel uncomfortable can you call your Dads Dr and ask for a CAT SCAN on his lungs?  This would bring you more assurance as they really can't tell cancer (unless it is blatant) in an XRAY.

    I know this because I had an xray showing spots and the Dr told me they had to do the CT Scan to really evaluate the spots because and xray can be too "vague".  They normally perform the Xray first to see if there is anything that should be further investigated.  But, just because the xray didn't show anything does not mean that there is nothing there...the CT Scan gives a better picture.

    I would call the Dr and say although you trust what they have told you...that you would feel more comfortable if he underwent a CT Scan seeing he has the continuing symptom of this cough.

    Does he smoke? I stupidly do..and I have emphyesema and COPD...which showed on my CT Scan and did not show on my xray....Not to say that these conditions are great...but I was relieved to hear those names vs. the "C" word.  I am 53 years old.

    I'm NOT trying to make you more nervous...I know you want to hear...he is OK...and the only way you will hear that and be absolutely sure about is lungs is if the Dr will perform further testing.  Then if the CT scan comes back clear I would have to say (if it were me) it would probably all be related to the allergies or the smoking if he smokes.


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  • Posted

    ps...given  your name "Yang" I would assume you are not of American ethinticity...and therefore your DAD would have a "lesser" chance of having lung cancer...even if he can google about ethnic backgrounds and statistics of cancer.

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  • Posted

    Is your father a chainsmoker? Is he older than 40? When we talk about cancer, it is imperative to highlight the factors which can place you at risk.

    Of course, genetic predispositions are inevitable but those cases are rare. Furthermore, googling symptoms is never a good idea. 

    A cough can be the result of many other conditions, from bronchitis to allergic reactions. Swollen lymph nodes could pose a danger as it usually signifies that something's not right but it could also mean infection rather than cancer ( like acute bronchitis which is a viral infection). 

    If he already performed an X ray both on his throat and chest and they came back clear then it's probably what the good doctor said. An infection which may probably take some time to clear up. 

    A CT Scan is advisable only when something's not okay on the X ray for further investigation. If you're so concerned, ask your father to do a complete scan and undergo a set of blood works. 

    In the meanwhile, he should eat a lot of honey or perhaps mix it up with herbal tea and lemon. Drinking peppermint tea, or perhaps inhaling peppermint vapors from a steam bath as peppermint leaves are known for their healing properties should work too.

    Don't overstress it. Sorry about your mother. It gets better.

    Stay safe and take care. 


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