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my Dad has COPD, has had 'something' show up on a chest xray, GP doesn't know what it is so has referred him to the lung clinic......please help me understand

(6 Posts)
MrsMc82 Sun 04-Nov-12 11:45:17

Hi all,

I've got very patchy info from my Mum (who like to gloss over things and pretend everythings all fine all the time but mainly so as not to worry me I think) And my Dad (who doesn't like to talk about things at the best of times nevermind if he's actually worried).....

He's 69 and had COPD for a while now, got diagnosed about 15 months ago. He's on inhalers and it has impeded his day to day life in that he can't go out hiking like he used to and he suffered breathlessness if its hot weather and he's more suseptable to colds etc, BUT he's plodding on nicely with a reasonably good quality of life.

Back in Sept he got a chest infection and started to have blood in his pflegm the dr gave him antibiotics, it didn't clear up so he gave him a further course and the blood still didn't lear up so he's sent him for a chest xray. the resuts came back, the dr requested he see him and has told him that somethings been shown on the xray but he's not sure what it is so is reffering him to the lung clinic any further information from my Dad isn't forthcoming (despite me questionning him to the point of annoyance!), when I asked if the Dr thought it was Dad said 'I think its beyond that now' which make me think the Drs suggested what it might be but that Dads not saying.......

my first thought is 'oh god is it cancer' and panic but am trying to be rational...

so I guess if theres any Drs or medical professionals on MN that can help me understand what we might be facing I'd be really grateful, my main questions are

what can be shown up on a chest xray?
what can coughing up blood be a symptom of?
is it just likely to be that his COPD has gotten worse, is that what a chest xray can show?
whats the purpose of the lung clinic?

thanks in advance.

Mrscog Sun 04-Nov-12 19:39:47

Hi, didn't want to read and run - I'm not a Dr but trained to be a physio some time ago and did quite a bit of respiratory work. I'll do my best, and all I'd say is try not to worry until you know what's going on - when is he going to the lung clinic?

what can be shown up on a chest xray?
Either changes in the structure of the chest - enlargements of the heart for example, or things that shouldn't be there but are, such as fluid, tumors or consolidation (which basically means loads of phlegm in the lungs)

what can coughing up blood be a symptom of?
It is a sign that there's been some damage to lung tissue somewhere -this could just be due to lots of coughing, or something more serious such as TB

is it just likely to be that his COPD has gotten worse, is that what a chest xray can show? I'm not sure, but I think COPD getting more severe would generally be indicated by more severe symptoms of COPD rather than a Chest x-ray

whats the purpose of the lung clinic? Again, I can't say for certain as they vary but I would have thought he would get to see a consultant, and maybe see a nurse to help him manage his condition. They might also run some additional tests.

Hope that helps, sorry I couldn't be more helpful smile

CajaDeLaMemoria Sun 04-Nov-12 19:46:35

I've just got over a very bad cough. I thought it was a chest infection, and had three lots of antibiotics, but then I started coughing up flecks of blood. Doctor was concerned and sent me to hospital, hospital did a chest x-ray and took bloods, decided it was most likely whooping cough - more antibiotics and sent home.

Got a referral to the lung clinic two weeks later as a shadow had showed on the x-ray. It was pneumonia. I was managing better than they thought I would be so they didn't give me an urgent appointment - did repeat x-rays to confirm, saw a few consultants, had painkillers/IV/antibiotics.

I hope it's something that easy for your dad. All the best x

doinmummy Sun 04-Nov-12 19:52:17

If a radiologist (who would have done the report) sees anything on a CXR other than infection a referral to a chest clinic is the norm. It could be anything from exacerbation of the COPD to a fluid level . It doesn't always mean the worse, but worrying non the less. I hope he is OK. Try not to worry.

MrsMc82 Sun 04-Nov-12 20:51:50

thanks all for your replies, i really appreciate it.
have just spoken to my mum who appreciates the extra info too, dad finds it hard to relay even to her what the GP has said so she is grateful for a bit of extra detail as to what the lung clinic will be trying to assertain.....
thanks v much for your kind words too x

digerd Mon 05-Nov-12 17:37:19

My DH had lung cancer but never coughed up blood.

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