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3 weeks ago I went to the ER for shortness of breath. I’ve had a cough for 7 months that lingered. The cough was producing thick yellow/brown pghlegm. They did an X-ray and CT scan and came back and said I had pneumonia, a 1.3cm lung nodule and fluid on the lungs indicating heart failure. So now they are rechecking the lung nodule. I know normally they are nothing. My question is more about the cough/phlegm. The phlegm I’m having is very is inconsistent with heart failure. Is thick yellow/brown phlegm something that could be from the nodule? The pneumonia has now cleared and I’ve had this phlegm for 7 months. I’m 38 years old so this was a lot all at one time. A clearly I have to wait for final answers but I’m just curious what others think.

  1. I have no answers as I didn't have that experience, but if you are not comfortable with what your doctor is telling you, may I suggest a second opinion with a pulmonologist at a cancer center? Hopefully others in our community will join in on the discussion. Please feel free to update us. Wishing you all the best, Alisa, Lung Cancer Team Patient Leader

    1. My mother had something going on with the color of phlegm as well but was very secretive as I think she may have been scared by everything. I would have to agree with if the explanations are not adding up then seeking someone else (if you can) that can share a clearer light may be something to consider. My mother was in the hospital for weeks with what was suggested pneumonia, but then to be told she had lung cancer. I say all this to say time is of the essence in getting clarity, whether reviewing the correct doctors (ex., pulmonologist) who can delve a bit deeper. Please let us know how everything turns out. Wishing you the very best!

      Yolanda( Team)

      1. Thank you both. I have a follow up with my primary care on the 13th. The hospital moved my appointment up (it was in May) because they want to recheck or biopsy this nodule and make sure it’s not growing. I am in the wait and see time period as I have to see my primary care for the referral to the pulmonologist. The thing that gets me though is that this phlegm is not caused by heart failure (still waiting for the cardiologist referral as well) so I am assuming it must be related to my lungs.

        1. Sorry there's a lot of stalling waiting for referrals but happy as well that your appointment was moved up which is a start. Hopefully, all specialists will shed more light as to what is happening and why. Please let us know how everything works out with these appointments. Best.
          Yolanda( Team)

        2. Hi . Your frustration with not knowing what is happening and the waiting is certainly understandable and glad your appointment got moved up. I don't have personal experience, but I can tell you that the phlegm from heart failure tends to be white or pink blood-tinged mucus (see: I can also tell you that while a brown/rust colored phlegm can be a sign of lung cancer, it is also common with pneumonia and yellow can be indicative of infection.
          Concerning the 1.3 cm nodule/growth, there are also numerous things that could be. My father had one that turned out to be a mold (aspergillosis). My point is that, while it is important to get answers in a timely manner, there are multiple potential causes. As and said, it may take an expert/specialist, such as a pulmonologist to get the proper diagnostics. Hoping you get some answers soon and please feel free to keep us posted or ask more questions - people here get it. Wishing you the best. Richard ( Team)

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