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Lung Cancer

Fluid around lungs



Happy New Year to you....my dad was recently hospitalized for fluid around his lungs as he was having difficulties in breathing....it started with a pain on his shoulder he was treated at the hospital for that pain he was discharged and had to be rushed back to hospital where it was discovered that there was fluid a tube was inserted and fluid was taken out he spent 5days at hospital and discharged....again we had to rush him back wher it was discovered that there was air now around the lungs....he was a smoker for many years....my concern is can this be signs of cancer? Xrays were done and there was no indication of any...what can I do to relieve him of this discomfort as he is now at home. Hope to have a response soon


The fluid around the lung may be from multiple causes. It could be because the heart is not functioning well or from pneumonia. Also, there is a chance that cancer can cause this to appear as well. However, further tests are needed to identify the source. The fluid that was removed probably was sent to lab to determine if there were any cancer cells. We can determine to some extent by analyzing the fluid if it was secondary to heart or pneumonia or cancer. I would recommend that you contact your Dad's physician to find out what tests were ordered while he was at the hospital and if so, find out the results. A CT scan of the chest would also be helpful to find out if there is any lung mass. Fluid around the lung after drainage can also be from multiple factors. If the lung was covered with cancer or inflammation then air may appear. There is also a small chance that the air may have appeared during the chest tube placement. Again, your Dad's physician will need to review the records to determine when it appeared.

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Response by:

Shaheen  Islam, MD, MPH Shaheen Islam, MD, MPH
Clinical Associate Professor
Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University