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Smoker. Burning sensation in back and chest and shortness of breath. Chances of lung cancer?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
Answered : 983 Questions
i am 26 years old, have smoked 1/2 a pack a day for ten years.

for the past 2 years or so i have experienced constant burning sensation in my left upper back and chest and have struggled with long periods of shortness of breath. i recently quit smoking and the pain has not seemed to go away. i am very scared i have lung cancer. the pain in very localized to my left back between shoulder blades and my left chest.

i also over the past 10 years have developed a large indentation in my left upper thigh. it almost seems like the fat has wasted. i am very scared about this. it was previously painless but lately has started to hurt.

please advise me, i am very worried
Posted Mon, 15 Oct 2012 in Smoking and Alcohol Addiction
Answered by Dr. Aparna Kohli 2 hours later
Its unlikely that the pain you are experiencing is due to lung cancer. It could be either due to an infection or simply gastro-esophageal reflux disease . Both these conditions are common in people who smoke.
In addition, we must also rule out heart disease ( which is the least likely alternative). For this, I suggest you see your physician and atleast get a basic Electrocardiogram done. Its important that we rule out this since we don’t want to be missing something as sinister as this.
If you have any fever, sore throat, cough etc, it would be an infection. In this case, you would need a course of antibiotics. Since these are prescription drugs, you would have to see your physician for the same.
If there are no other symptoms, here's what you need to do
a. Eat small meals at frequent intervals
b. Avoid spicy food, caffeine, alcohol and smoking
c. Take Tablet Prevacid OTC 1 tablet one hour before breakfast.
This should take care of your symptoms.
If none of this helps, it could simply be anxiety or a muscle spasm. In that case, yoga, XXXXXX breathing exercises, and applying diclofenac gel locally would help.
Apart from the EKG, I do not think there is nothing that you should be doing on an emergency basis.
As far as the indentation in your thigh is concerned, it would be best if you could send me a picture.
You can use the 'Upload your reports' section
Let me know if you have any more concerns.
Hope this helps
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