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Author Topic: Terrified I have lung cancer.  (Read 387 times)

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Offline jac93

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Terrified I have lung cancer.
« on: June 13, 2014, 08:09:08 AM »
Hi all. I know I'm a new user and I feel guilty about not being able to contribute anything myself but I hope some kind people here can help me.

It all started about two weeks ago when I noticed some abnormalities with my breathing. From the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed I felt every breath I took was a conscious effort, or that I was at least more aware of it. As this progressed and I paid more and more attention to it I began to realise that I was also not eating very much for the last two weeks, having been unable to finish most of my meals.  I didn't worry at the time, but in the last few days after weighing in the breathless feelings I began to worry and started to look things up on google and I've come to the conclusion that I have lung cancer, and I'm even convinced of the type - adenocarcinoma of the right lung, on the upper right side due to occasional mild discomfort I get there.

I made an emergency appointment with the doctor yesterday and he listened to my lungs and measured my oxygen levels and I was told that my lungs were healthy and the airflow was good. I asked for an x-ray but he was insistent that at this stage it's not required and just sent me for blood tests which I'm still waiting on. He said lung cancer at my age (21) is incredibly rare and that he would tend to a diagnosis of anxiety for now.

The problem I have is that I'm not healthy, at all. I'm a recently ex-smoker having I smoked around 15 cigarettes a day for the last three years. I've suffered from social anxiety and mild agoraphobia all my life, causing me to lead a chronically sedentary lifestyle and now I feel it's all caught up with me and I've basically just been asking to develop something like this. Everyone tells me it's anxiety but I look back at the way the symptoms developed and it seems they developed independently of any anxiety until now, although I admit my appetite has worsened now it's become a concern. Worsened to the point at which I haven't eaten in two days, and I cannot even bring myself to swallow anything and I start retching and dry heaving. Only thing I can eat is fruit or vegetables, anything like meat or bread I canít handle. I tried to eat some toast this morning but I ended up spitting it back out.

I'm just terrified I have this horrible disease and I'm convincing myself every second that I have it. I look at my symptoms and admit that they are vague, but yet when I put what I have in to google or health sites I see lung cancer come up again and again and again. I'm only 21, I don't want to die. I keep breaking down and crying because I'm so scared, I can't focus on anything but this worry and every little pain or discomfort I get becomes another symptom.

I can't focus on anything but my fear of dying from this horrible, cruel disease. I've even started writing letters to those I love out of fear I may die soon. Can anyone offer and advice or assurances that may help me?
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Offline mollyfin

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Re: Terrified I have lung cancer.
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2014, 06:59:51 PM »
Lung cancer in smokers occurs later on down the road.  I can't promise you won't get it when you're 70 if you keep on like this, but you certainly don't have it now.  What you have right now is almost certainly anxiety.
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Offline rap_Talon

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Re: Terrified I have lung cancer.
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2014, 07:11:35 PM »
molly is totally right. You've already been given the best possible assurance you can get - your lungs are fine. Your lungs would not be fine if you had cancer. A doctor would know, and it would be clear. It also is ridiculously rare at 21.

The way I see it:

You noticed difficulties with your breathing - this could have been caused by anything, from a sudden intake of breath, to gas, to allergies.
You began to focus on it, and this made you anxious. You don't have to know you're making yourself anxious as such, but focusing on a symptom is going to make it worse.
you stopped eating right. This can be a result of anxiety, where we become scared of eating because of the affect it has on us. Breathlessness can make eating seem painful or difficult.
You looked things up on google, giving yourself a diagnosis based only on what was there. This is never a good idea, as symptoms can be caused by many, much more common things than what you're worrying about.
You now worry constantly, because you have given yoursel a diagnosis and can't believe that it's not that. You're scared about it, and are convincing yourself that's what you have.

It's a cycle I used to go through with every new symptom I got, working myself into a state, ignoring the facts. It's what anxiety can do to you.
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Online Lindsay2427

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Re: Terrified I have lung cancer.
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2014, 09:34:10 PM »
My grandmother has lung cancer and was a 60 year smoker. That's right 60 years. She is 71 years old. LC at 21 is almsit unheard of. Noticing your breathing is most likely anxiety, especially if your O2 stats were good. You did the right thing seeing your doctor. Maybe he will ease your fears. 
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Online chunkymonkey

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Re: Terrified I have lung cancer.
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2014, 09:47:01 PM »
my dad has been smoking for over 30 years and his lungs are perfectly fine. He got a chest x ray last year and dr said it looked fine. I know the common symptoms of lung cancer is constant coughing or coughing up blood.
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Offline jac93

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Re: Terrified I have lung cancer.
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2014, 03:20:11 AM »
Thank you everyone for your replies. I saw a mental health specialist and was prescribed 6mg Diazepam daily to help reduce the anxiety after suffering a panic attack in his office. I woke up today struggling for breath and again I couldn't eat.

I'm really scared that there is something wrong with me and it's being dismissed as anxiety. I know that's probably a common fear too, but I've lost 20lb over a few weeks (probably due to not eating) and after weighing myself I'm losing like 1-2lb a day recently. I can't eat though or anything, got a tiny bit of hunger yesterday but it subsided quickly after a few mouthfuls.

Hoping that it is just anxiety but the breathing problems and lack of appetite scare me immensely. It's only got worse, half of me wants to go to the A&E just so they will do some tests to find if there is a problem. The last thing I want is to go "crazy" though, my relationships are alrady becoming strained due to my constant fear.
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Offline i960

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Re: Terrified I have lung cancer.
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2014, 04:19:42 AM »
Definitely sounds like anxiety to me as well. There's nothing wrong with a second opinion but you want to trust your doctor. That being said, you should really think twice before taking 6mg of diazepam daily. All benzodiazepines should only be used for dire panic situations as a bail out. Daily use is setting the stage for benzo rebound anxiety. I wouldn't touch it unless necessary. 
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Offline mollyfin

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Re: Terrified I have lung cancer.
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2014, 12:19:56 AM »
If you're not eating it makes total sense that you're losing weight. 
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Offline jac93

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Re: Terrified I have lung cancer.
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2014, 06:50:26 AM »
Now I'm really stuck and even more paranoid. Even with my fear of lung cancer I'm practically chain smoking because of the anxiety I still face. I'm trying to stay off of the Diazepam because I don't want any withdrawl anxiety from it.

I feel fatigued, tired, and I end up dry heaving when I try to eat. Even food tastes different to me, and my mouth is incredibly dry and it's difficult to swallow anything that isn't moist. Even when the anxiety is completely gone I still cannot stomach any food. When I think back to how this all started, with the reduction in appetite occurring before the anxiety I'm really starting to think that there is some underlying condition, and can't get away from the idea that it's just anxiety. If I could eat and I didn't dry heave or have the dry mouth, I'd be okay.

I went to a doctor yesterday and he was incredibly rude, telling me "I'm not in the mood for this this morning" and other rather unpleasant things. I'm trying to accept this is just anxiety but the symptoms seem way too specific to cancer. Now I've gone so far down the anxiety route the chance of me actually getting any sort of scans done are pretty much zero, even if I pay for them myself. I'm from the UK, and all the private places are only scanning people over 40 or require a referral from my GP, who pretty much doesn't care.

No idea what to do now. :(
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Offline park682

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Re: Terrified I have lung cancer.
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2014, 08:17:35 AM »
This is Exectly what I am going through right now....even though I feel like I am a mess, here are some nuggets of advice: first find a new doctor, not because I think you are sick, but because he seems like an asshole. I'm been seriously dealing with my blood clot/lung cancer fear since December and went through 2 doctors that refused to respect me and my anxiety. The worse thing a doctor can do to someone with anxiety is brush them off like they are crazy, we already feel that way! I found an amazing doctor who makes me feel human again.

As for the lung cancer part, I don't know I think it's because you are so focused on your breathing. I'm the same way. I went away for a weekend and no shortness of breath at all. I came back home and Boom everyday. I have to believe that it's mix of anxiety and allergies!

Hope things get better!
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Offline marc

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Re: Terrified I have lung cancer.
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2014, 11:30:47 AM »
Anxiety can and will wreck havoc on your body.
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If you're going through hell, keep going.
Never, Never, Never, give up.

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