When to Seek Treatment for Long Covid
- A nurse in England was under the impression that a lingering cough was caused by long Covid, but it turned out to be a type of cancer called adenocarcinoma.
- Common symptoms associated with long Covid include brain fog, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and shortness of breath.
- However, since Covid-19 is still so new, it’s important to speak to your doctor about new symptoms you may be experiencing.
- A chronic cough is also a symptoms of the particular type of adenocarcinoma the nurse was diagnosed with.
Unfortunately, since Covid-19 is such a new illness, researchers are still trying to figure out what symptoms may be a result of long Covid. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) notes that common symptoms are brain fog, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and shortness of breath — and about 2.5% of people who have had Covid seem to end up with lingering symptoms.Read More
Adenocarcinoma can affect the:
By the time Victoria was diagnosed, unfortunately the cancer had spread from her lungs to her heart and her doctors discovered she was suffering from heart failure. In her case, the adenocarcinoma was a type of lung cancer called non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Victoria received the diagnosis last month, and is set to begin treatment — which will include both chemotherapy and immunotherapy — in August.
Dr. Joseph Friedberg, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, explains the staging process for lung cancer.
“I’m hoping the chemotherapy and immunotherapy will give me a few more years. I’m praying for that,” she told the Mail. She said the experience has left her worried for others who may be misattributing cancer symptoms to a past Covid infection. “If anyone does have a cough, please, please go and get it checked out and don’t just assume it’s a Covid cough.”
When to See a Doctor
When adenocarcinoma affects the lungs, the first symptom is often a chronic cough, like the one Victoria described dealing with. An affected person may cough up saliva or mucous with small amounts of blood. Other symptoms can include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
When Victoria’s doctors became concerned that her cough wasn’t going away in February 2022, they eventually sent her in for a chest X-ray, which showed inflammation in the lungs. Even then, doctors thought it could be asthma that was caused by Covid. Finally, a second chest X-ray revealed a shadow on her left lower long. After a CT scan, a PET scan, an EBUS procedure, biopsies, and blood tests, she was diagnosed with heart failure. It wasn’t until mid-June that she was ultimately given the cancer diagnosis.
Victoria told the Mail that she doesn’t blame her doctors for initially missing her cancer, since “nobody knows exactly what long Covid is or how to treat it as it’s so new.”
Still, she encourages others who may be experiencing new symptoms to be vigilant about seeking care, especially if symptoms linger. “I never thought for one minute that my cough would turn out to be cancer,” she said. “There are loads of people out there coughing and you just don’t realize. You don’t know if it’s something more serious so just get it checked out, please.”
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- Could my long Covid symptoms be due to some other issue?
- Are there any tests I should undergo to be sure?
- What type of new symptoms should I be on the lookout for?