Q. Can blood in sputum be due to cancer in a chronic smoker?

Answered by
Dr. Sagar Ramesh Makode
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
Published on Nov 05, 2018

Hello doctor,

My brother just turned 26 years old three days back and he is a smoker from last seven years. On an average, he smokes 6 to 7 cigarettes a day. He developed a morning cough within a year of smoking. Now my query is that a few days back his stomach was upset and he puked. After puking he was cleaning his mouth and in the process, he was collecting phlegm and spitting. He noticed something red in the spit one time. He is not sure if it was blood or vomit since it was not bright red. He spat 3 to 4 times after that but nothing came out. It has been a week since then and no such incident has occurred after that. There is no other complaint. He is not breathless. Appetite is excellent. Stamina is very good. No weight loss. He has had his last X-ray a year back during job recruitment. Now my query is that he has said he is not going to smoke again but is not going to meet the doctor for the red thing. I am really worried about the chances of lung cancer.

Dr. Sagar Ramesh Makode

Cardiology General Medicine Internal Medicine


Welcome to icliniq.com.

It is unlikely to be lung cancer. Firstly, the lung cancer is unlikely at this age group and frequently develop after 45 to 50 years. Next thing, blood should have been present consistently and other symptoms would have been present. Most of the times such occasional bleeding is due to mucosal bleeding in mouth or GIT. However, it is better to get evaluated once and get chest X-ray, although unlikely. So, try to convince him.

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Hi doctor,

Thank you for your reply. I spoke to him and he said he will get it done if he got any more episode or any other symptom. I am really worried. I have read that around 20 pack per year is required and his is coming to 3.5 pack per year. Is it significant?

Dr. Sagar Ramesh Makode

Cardiology General Medicine Internal Medicine


Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Yes, it is very unlikely to be lung cancer. There is nothing on history to suggest lung cancer, such episodes are usually non-cancerous. There is nothing to worry. I advised above things, just to be on safer side and be sure. All the best.

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