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How can lung cancer be misdiagnosed as an infection?

On Behalf of | May 10, 2022 | Cancer Misdiagnosis

Residents of California expect the best care from doctors and other medical professionals. A misdiagnosis can be devastating. Sadly, it might be possible for lung cancer to be mistaken for an infection.

Why is lung cancer sometimes misdiagnosed?

A misdiagnosis of cancer can occur when a person has lung cancer. Sadly, this is common and often, this type of cancer is undetected until the later stages. This is because it rarely shows symptoms during the early stages. However, many of the symptoms of lung cancer are similar to those of other medical conditions. Those symptoms might include the following:

  • Chest pain
  • Persistent cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hoarseness
  • Weight loss
  • Bone pain

These symptoms can present in other conditions, which is why it can be difficult for doctors to properly diagnose lung cancer.

Why can lung cancer be mistaken for an infection?

Lung cancer can be mistaken for certain infections, especially those that are fungal. This is due to their symptoms being almost the same as those found in lung cancer. Different types of fungal infections may result in side effects such as coughing, chest pain, coughing up blood, shortness of breath and headaches.

Testing must be done to determine whether a person is suffering from a fungal infection or lung cancer. Lung cancer can be detected with X-rays, CT scans, MRIs or PET scans. If the disease is suspected, it can be confirmed through a biopsy of some tissue taken from the lungs.

With a fungal infection of the lungs, antibiotics are necessary to clear the infection. If the medication doesn’t help and symptoms persist, the doctor should suspect the possibility of lung cancer.