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Chest. 1989 May;95(5):1043-7.

Bronchoscopy to evaluate hemoptysis in older men with nonsuspicious chest roentgenograms.

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Department of Medicine, Minneapolis Veterans Administration Medical Center.


Six of 106 older men with hemoptysis and a nonsuspicious chest roentgenogram who underwent fiberoptic bronchoscopy were found to have cancer. Four of the five bronchogenic carcinomas appeared to be surgically resectable. Cancer patients were significantly older, had smoked within the last five years, and had a significantly higher frequency of central abnormalities on chest roentgenogram. Six additional bronchogenic carcinomas were diagnosed at follow-up. Two of these were probably present but not detected at the time of bronchoscopy. We conclude that (1) hemoptysis with a nonsuspicious chest roentgenogram carries an appreciable risk of cancer in older men with substantial smoking histories, (2) these cancers are often resectable, (3) a chest roentgenogram in which the central lung fields are obscured in any way should not be considered negative in patients with hemoptysis, and (4) a negative bronchoscopic examination does not exclude the possibility of cancer in these patients.

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