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Collapsed lung and pleural effusion - causes?

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Old 04-24-2011, 08:41 PM   #1
Dark Stranger
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Collapsed lung and pleural effusion - causes?

This is on behalf of someone else, not me. My mother's partner was in the ER recently for shortness of breath an it was found that he had a pleural effusion (said the fluid was "watery like urine") and a collapsed lung. He got a few tests done and the doctor said he "thought" he saw something and that they "think" it could be cancer, but the results don't come back for another week.

Personally, I don't know how much I trust ER docs in general because I was once told I could be having a heart attack because I could not breathe. Yeah, a 19-year-old who doesn't use drugs and has no history of heart issues is having an MI. I digress.

Of course my mother is worried it's cancer and he's been saying he's going to die, etc. And that could be - the guy worked in smoky environments for a while and was told his lungs looked like those of a smoker's when he hadn't smoked before. He also began smoking back in about 2004 and only stopped very recently.

Also found out that he said he has a large mass on the problem lung and several smaller masses in the abdominal cavity. Not sure what exactly this means or how long those have been there.

I know cancer is not the only thing that can cause either of these things. The guy has a history of fatty tumors on his chest and back, he sustained a chest injury on the left side of his chest back in November (same side the collapsed-fluidy lung is on), and he recently had pneumonia. As in right before his little ER trip.

Basically, I would like to know if there is any connection between the collapsed lung and the fluid. I cannot find one. I also know lungs can collapse spontaneously, so who knows. Is it a coincidence they happened together? Did the lung collapse due to the fluid?

That lung was drained and right now, I think symptoms are productive cough and shortness of breath. And I know lung cancer does have a lower survival rate than other cancers, but even then, cancer is not a death sentence. In this case, the issue is, as far as can be seen, isolated to the left lung. So it could be a matter of just removing that lung; I have a good friend who lost his lung to severe asthma and he does just fine.

Can anyone offer any insights?

Last edited by Dark Stranger; 04-25-2011 at 06:21 AM. Reason: Had to add something.

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