Understanding Pneumonia with Lung Cancer

Pneumonia is a common disease among people around the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), pneumococcal infections cause approximately 1 million deaths per year worldwide.[1] About 50% of these deaths are due to pneumonia caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae. [2]

The most common causes of pneumonia include:

Infection with Staphylococcus aureus (strep throat)

Infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosa (fungal skin infection)

Influenza virus infection (influenza-like illness)

Symptoms of Pneumonia With Lung Cancer[3][4]

You have been diagnosed with lung cancer. You feel like you have the flu.

Your cough has not gone away for over 3 weeks. You develop pain in your chest when you cough or take a deep breath. You have blood in your mucus or sputum (phlegm). You feel weak and have no energy. You feel dizzy or light-headed. You have a fever above 100°F (37.8°C). You feel better for a few hours, but then your symptoms come back. You start having new symptoms like headaches and confusion.

If you or someone you know has one or more of these symptoms, it is important to get medical attention right away. You can go to the emergency room or call your doctor.

Pneumonia With Lung Cancer: Diagnosis and Treatment

Once the doctor sees you, they will ask about your medical history and give you a physical examination. They will order tests to see if you have pneumonia.

If you are diagnosed with pneumonia, your treatment plan will depend on your age, medical history, the type of pneumonia you have, and how severe it is. Your treatment may include antibiotics, oxygen therapy, rest, hydration, and other treatments.

If you have severe health problems or other complicating factors, you will need to stay in the hospital while receiving treatment. If your pneumonia is not too severe, you may be able to stay at home while receiving treatment such as antibiotics.

Some of the most common types of pneumonia are described below.

Pneumococcal Pneumonia: This type of pneumonia is caused by infection with Streptococcus pneumoniae, also known as pneumococcus. This type of bacteria is found in the noses and throats of healthy people and can spread through coughing or sneezing.

It can also lead to ear infections, meningitis, and other problems.

Vaccines are available to protect people from the types of pneumococcus that cause the most severe disease. A vaccine called PCV13 (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine) protects against 13 of the most common strains of pneumococcus.

A vaccine called PPSV23 (pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine) protects against the most common 23 strains of the bacteria in adults aged 65 years and older.

Most cases of pneumococcal pneumonia can be treated with antibiotics. Sometimes hospitalization is required.

Severe cases may require a breathing machine (ventilator).

Haemophilus Influenzae Type B Pneumonia: This type of pneumonia is caused by infection with Haemophilus influenzae type B, also known as H. flu.

H. flu is a type of bacteria that is spread from person to person. It mainly affects children and young adults. H. flu can cause mild symptoms or life-threatening illness. The type of pneumonia caused by H. flu is usually serious and may cause complications such as meningitis (infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord) or bronchitis (inflammation of the lungs).

Most cases of H. flu type B pneumonia can be treated at home with antibiotics.

Sometimes hospitalization is required if you are not getting better. Antibiotics can decrease how long the pneumonia symptoms last and lower your chances of getting complications.

If you have a weakened immune system, treatment with antibiotics may not be enough to fight the infection. In this case, you will need to be hospitalized and placed on a breathing machine (ventilator) to help you breathe.

You may also need to receive fluids and have your blood oxygen level closely monitored. Surgery may be required in some cases.

Sources & references used in this article:

Rothia dentocariosa: two new cases of pneumonia revealing lung cancer by F Wallet, T Perez, M Roussel-Delvallez… – … journal of infectious …, 1997 – Taylor & Francis

Lipoid pneumonia in lung cancer: radiographic and pathological features by A Tamura, A Hebisawa, K Fukushima… – Japanese journal of …, 1998 – academic.oup.com

Pulmonary pathology of early phase 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pneumonia in two patients with lung cancer by S Tian, W Hu, L Niu, H Liu, H Xu, SY Xiao – Journal of Thoracic Oncology, 2020 – Elsevier

Germline SFTPA1 mutation in familial idiopathic interstitial pneumonia and lung cancer by N Nathan, V Giraud, C Picard, H Nunes… – Human molecular …, 2016 – academic.oup.com

Inflammation in the development of lung cancer: epidemiological evidence by EA Engels – Expert review of anticancer therapy, 2008 – Taylor & Francis

The role of procalcitonin in differential diagnosis between acute radiation pneumonitis and bacterial pneumonia in lung cancer patients receiving thoracic … by Z Wang, B Huo, Q Wu, L Dong, H Fu, S Wang… – Scientific Reports, 2020 – nature.com

Prior lung disease and risk of lung cancer in a large prospective study by AJ Littman, MD Thornquist, E White, LA Jackson… – Cancer causes & …, 2004 – Springer