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Julia Kizhner
Julia Kizhner, Physician Assistant
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 1126
Experience:  7 years experience working in Primary Care as well as Gastroenterology, Sleep Medicine & Weight Loss
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My husband has a lung abscess found via x ray. GP initially

Resolved Question:

My husband has a lung abscess found via x ray. GP initially said it was an URTI, 2 days later gave him amoxicillin. Symtoms back 10 days later and now on 500mg clarithramycin hence x ray. How likely is this to be a lung cancer, ct scan next week
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Julia Kizhner replied 6 years ago.

Hello and thank you for your question,

Could you please tell me what your husband's symptoms were prior to being diagnosed with lung abscess? How long has he been having them? Any weight loss?

Is your husband a smoker?

Has your husband been feeling any better since starting antibiotics?



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Initial visit to GP was with hacking cough , very difficult to cough up anything, hot sweats with no fever, lethergy, foul taste when coughing. wnt back 2 days later as despite doing what he was advised, ie paracetamol 4 hourly, plenty of fluid and rest he felt worse. Took 5 days of amoxycillin and felt better until the cough came back This time no sweats but the lethargy and foul taste of coughing still there. Eventually was coughing until almost retching and producing foul smelling sputum which was white/brown. Gave up smoking 13 mths ago after 50 years. No cough now and feels fine. No weight loss or decrease in appetite
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Never had this diagnosis before, GP told us it could be a carcinoma but despite spending hours on google cannot find information that I understand - please help I am expecting the worst so anything else is a bonus- thank you
Expert:  Julia Kizhner replied 6 years ago.

Thank you for additional information.

There is actually quite a small chance of your husband having lung cancer. All his symptoms point to infection causing his cough and sputum. Amoxicillin is a very weak antibiotic to treat lung infection so I am not surprised to hear that his symptoms came back. Clarithromycin is a better drug choice.

Of course, being a smoker for so many years puts your husband at a risk of developing lung cancer, however, if there is lung cancer, it would be a completely accidental discovery. Usually it is recommended to repeat chest x-ray after 3-4 weeks of being on antibiotics to make sure that the infiltrate they are calling "abscess" has resolved.

The bot***** *****ne is that there is a very low risk that your husbands' symptoms are due to lung cancer but pease make sure that his GP repeats his chest x-ray in 3-4 weeks.

I hope you find this information helpful. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I will be happy to assist you further.

If you are satisfied with the answer, please do click 'Accept' button so that I may get credit for my work.

Best wihes and good luck,


Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thank you for this but could you try to explain why the GP called at our house less than 24 hours after the x ray was taken and why he has ordered an urgent ct scan. His visit and the words ct scan have really concerned us - thank you julia

Expert:  Julia Kizhner replied 6 years ago.

I am sorry for not getting back to you right away. I had to step away from the computer.

When you husband had the x-ray done, I am sure it showed a blurriness caused by the abscess. X-rays are not very specific tests and if the blurriness seen on the x-ray looks suspicious, CT scan is always done to look at it closer. I don't think your GP wanted to waste any time and ordered CT scan urgently.

Based solely on the symptoms that your husband had/has, the diagnosis is more likely to be of infectious cause (abscess, pneumonia). It doesn't mean that he cannot have cancer but judging just based on his symptoms and his response to antibiotics, it is more likely he has infection. I have had several patients whose symptoms started out as an infection and during for the infection, they were diagnosed with lung cancer. The 2 conditions could just be completely independent of one another and lung cancer can be picked up by accident. If that's the case, the prognosis is much better because it can be treated with surgery.

Please let me know if I can assist you with anything else. If you have the actual x-ray report, I will be glad to read it over and explain it to you.

If I answered your questions, please click 'Accept' button so that I may get credit for my work.


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