Last year at the beginning of the year, I began noticing pain on the right side of my throat underneath my voice box. It occurred only every so often so I did not think much of it. In July 2002, I was rushed to the ER for the most severe asthma attack I had ever had. I went to my Primary Care Physician in August 2002, and was put on Singulair. I no longer have attacks. After my asthma was brought under control with this new medication, I still noticed the pain, which had actually had gotten worse since the attack. I also then noticed that the lymph nodes on the right side directly underneath my jawline were really swollen. They do not hurt, but they are pretty swollen and have been that way since I first noticed it. The pain is present and has been present since then too. Two weeks ago, I coughed up spit and I thought it looked like it was tainted with blood. I have made an appointment with a different Primary Care Physician in March 2003. I am pretty worried. I was reading up on lung cancer, and I wonder if this is a possibility. It's really scary to hear that there are hardly any symptoms, but by the time they show up - it's too late. I am only 30 years old, I don't smoke, but 7 years ago I had to have my thyroid dissolved with radioactive iodine pill. I wonder what the effects are of being exposed to this pill. I know that for three days after taking that pill, I was not allowed to be around young children, babies and pregnant women. I wonder what kind of damage was done to me. I have also had extensive dental work done to me during my teen years because of teeth needing pulled, braces, and wisdom teeth. I've had my share of X-rays.
There's probably fifty things that could make you expectorate sputum streaked with blood. If this was a one-time thing, don't start worrying about lung cancer until you've had the tests done and you actually HAVE it.
Lymph nodes can become swollen in a manner you are speaking of just from a generalized infection, which might have been enough to precipitate your attack, since respiratory infections are practically the number one cause of asthma exacerbations requiring an ER visit.
The radioactive iodine has probably not done anything. The facial x-rays have probably not done anything. Intensive Care patients have at least daily chest x-rays, and x-ray technologists have been exposed to thousands of times that dose of radiation and not had extensive problems with cancer because of advanced technology regarding the tracking of radiation dosages.
Don't start scaring yourself into thinking you have lung cancer, I'm dead serious, there's a whole swack of fully benign reasons you could cough up sputum with blood in it -- the most common of which would be a particularly strong cough that broke a capillary.
I know that sometimes I worry myself into thinking something is seriously wrong with my health when it probably isn't. I called the doctor yesterday and made an appointment for today, so I wouldn't dwell on it for the next month.
My doctor said it could be a problem with my esophagus. Pockets could have formed in my esophagus that collect food. This collection of food in these pockets causes inflammation and infection, which could be the reason why my lymph nodes are swollen. I also have unusually strong chronic bad breath. I have been told this many times. My doctor says this could be caused by this esophagus problem.
He checked my nodes, and they were a little swollen. But he told he doesn't think I have cancer. He has referred me to an ENT (ear, nose, throat doctor).
I have an appointment with them next week. They are going to stick some tube down my throat to find out what is causing the pain. I hope I don't start gagging. He told me if they don't find anything, I'll need further testing.
I am happy to report that I went to the ENT today, and my symptoms are just a result of acid-reflux disease.
He looked down my throat and said there was no tumors or anything serious. He said part of my larynx was red as a result of the acid irritating it. Everything including my larynx was functioning well. It was just a little red.
I do get heartburn on occasion, and I burp quite a bit. So it is all making sense now.
He told me to take an over-the-counter drug like Zantac or Pepsid AC. Hopefully, it will take care of the problem and clear up the irritation. I'm certain it will.
Glad it was better news than you thought it might be. Reflux can be managed very well these days. Also, you may find that controlling the reflux improves your asthma as well. They two problems often go together.
Thanks, Barb! I didn't know asthma and acid-reflux go hand-in-hand. I hope that my asthma improves. I am 30 years old and I have had asthma since I was 13. I have had a few scary attacks, especially the one in July which was the worst ever. I thought I was going to stop breathing if I didn't get emergency care soon.
I hope that by taking care of the acid-reflux condition, I won't have any more serious asthma attacks. I wonder if that's what brought on my severe attack in July. I don't want to end up in the ER again.