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Why is my wife suffering from chest pain?

Q: My 30 years old wife has non-functioning lower lobe of her left lung. As a result, she has had several attacks of pneumonia since her childhood. She also underwent treatment for six months for lung tuberculosis. She is having pain in her chest (left side). We have consulted many doctors. One has suggested operation stating that it may be cancerous; while another said that there is nothing to worry and she can lead a normal life by taking care to prevent any infection. Her treatment for tuberculosis was completed three years back and since then she has not had any other problem in her lungs apart from the chest pain. The pain increases if there is too much physical stress.

A:From the description you have given me it appears that she may have pain in the chest from either ongoing lung or pleura related disease. The pleurae are the lining of the lung. However other causes like heart, muscle and bone related problems can also cause chest pain. One approach would be to see a pulmonologist in your city to help do the work up. Take all the records and any chest X-ray or CT scan films with you. Also, the possibility of cancer or ongoing inflammation can be determined by the pulmonologist by further tests like a CT scan or a PET scan and also by procedures like a bronchoscopy. However, without more details it is not possible to advise, which is the best method. If you do not have a local lung doctor you could perhaps send a copy of your records for review by a lung doctor in one of the major cities and if necessary, also see them.

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