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Nail clubbing in few fingers, chain smoker. Chances of developing lung cancer ?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 2011
Answered : 4286 Questions

I have a question regarding lung cancer. I'm a long time (8years) smoker who smokes about 10 cigarettes a day. But I'm also very physically active, and really haven't had any of the major symptoms of lung cancer. But when I heard about nail clubbing, I have noticed that 3-4 fingers out of 10 are kind of bent forward. Since I bite my nails, as well as the skin around nail root I thought that could be creating "nail clubbing effect" (what I see) but in reality it may not be the case. In order to develop nail clubbing, is 3-4 fingers a good representation or all fingers should be going that direction in order to make such diagnosis? Should I, at this point be concerned about lung cancer?
Posted Mon, 16 Apr 2012 in Lung Cancer
Answered by Dr. Aashish Raghu 17 minutes later

Thanks for the query.

Nail clubbing is loss of the dip in the angle formed by the nail and the skin of the finger immediately behind the nail over the finger. When it becomes rounded and loss in the dip between nail and skin is usually when clubbing is noticed. Clubbing usually occurs on all fingers.

Clubbing can be caused by many possible causes. Common causes are when oxygen is less in the blood for a very long time. Smoking can reduce oxygen in the blood in the form of diseases like Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Chronic bronchitis as well.

Lung cancer can also cause clubbing but will usually be associated with weight loss, and sometimes coughing out blood. Hence it would be wrong to consider lung cancer as the diagnosis. I am not concerned yet.

Since you are only 25 years old, it is advisable that you quit smoking before it is too late. Do understand that prevention is always better than cure. Smoking can cause urinary bladder cancer, food pipe cancer, voice box cancer as well. Also in some individuals it can cause gangrene of the feet which may require amputation in a condition called Buerger's disease. Also it can increase chance of heart attack at young age. This is only to highlight a few of the adverse effects associated with smoking.

Do take this seriously for your good health. Do consult with a Psychiatrist and get adequate advice and solution on how to quit smoking. There are various methods which include behavior therapy, certain medication as well.

Eat healthy. Drink plenty of water. Exercise daily. Get 6-8 hours of sleep daily. Avoid stress by adding Yoga in your daily regime.

I hope I have answered your query. I will be available to answer your follow up queries.


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