Warning: Kind of Gross- but I have to ask

I apolgize for the grossness factor on this one but I'm wondering if anyone else has had this happen. My Mom and I were out running errands yesterday and she's had a dry cough for about 10 days. So were in the parking lot and she coughs, this time something hard comes up and she is able to catch it in a tissue. It's about 3/4" by 1/2" and is grayish in color and looks like a piece of lung tissue. She was able to get a hold of the on-call onc who said it is probably dead cancer cells and to think of it as a good thing, he said "there's less gunk in you now"... has anyone else experienced this? Can you cough up your cancer!? She doesn't feel any different, no pain or bleeding...

A bit of background info:
She had a case of post-obstructive pneumonia, which we believe she is now over (fevers and chills are gone!) and on her initial bronch the doc couldn't get to the entire area because there was an obstruction. The results of her bronch showed no sign of maligant cells. Her dx was made from the biopsy and PET scans. She also had her first round of chemo (carbo/taxol/avastin) 2 weeks ago.

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I would have that "sample" biopsied - I wouldn't just trust what that doctor said - sounds strange to me that it happened - I would go to your Oncologist and have it checked....

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I agrre that it should be biopsied. When I was on chemo I coughed once and bood came out my nose and mouth. I called my original onc and he said just rinse with warm water. I went to the ER and they fould I had hemorraged in the laranx. Fired that Onc. Trust your instincts.

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Hi sweetie"
First I want to say how wonderful you are to take such good care of your dear mother. I wish I had a daughter to shop with and help me through this. As a mother, and lc patient, I can tell you that your love and caring will help your mom more than anything.
And yes, I had this happen two times a few days after surgery. It was exactly as you described and scared me to death. I was on my way home from the hospital, 1200 miles, so didn't get to talk to the doctor about it. It was horrifying to me and I could only think it was something left in there from surgery, so much going on during a surgery like that, I thought it was something they had cut off and didn't get out. Sounds horrible but thats exactly what happened. I am still o k so I guess it wasn't anything too bad. I had never mentioned it because I was afraid to gross people out. I feel like it was lung tissue, I am almost positive it was. It really scared me.
Much love to you and your mother

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This is a support site; so, don't be embarrassed. I for one would not be happy with a doctor who made a dx over the phone. He's too glib for me. I, too, would want it tested just to know. But, I think coughing it up is a good thing....kind of like passing a kidney stone....get rid of it.

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At the risk of being glib, I think it is likely just sputum from her lung. Don't waste anyone's time/money with a biopsy. You can't cough up lung tissue, and if it wasn't seen on bronchoscopy initially, it is very unlikely to be tumour.

Better out than in. Must be all that excellent physiotherapy/exercise you are giving your mother. Well done!!

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Thank you guys for your thoughts. Mom's deciding that to not have it biopsied. She says she knows what it is and doesn't need to see it in black and white telling her that yes this is cancer. She's taking it as a good sign and will move on. Now everytime she coughs were all looking at her like... well? anything?

LOL ... never would have guessed we'd all be so interested in what she was coughing up. Thanks again for your feedback, this is such an awesome site.


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