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Chest and Lung Problems

A number of problems can affect the lungs and chest. These include masses, infections, and other diseases. Common types of chest and lung problems are listed below.



Front view of chest showing lungs with mass on right lung.


Front view of chest showing lungs with infection.

A mass is a lump of abnormal tissue. It can be not cancer (benign) or it can be cancer (malignant). If a mass is found in the lung or chest, the healthcare provider will want to take a sample of tissue (biopsy) of it. This tissue sample helps the provider find if the mass is cancer. The mass may need to be removed even if it is not cancer.


Infections are illnesses caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Examples of lung infections include tuberculosis and pneumonia. Lung infections can cause fluid to build up in the lungs or chest. Some lung infections are spread from an infected person through the air to infect another person. Most lung infections can be treated with antibiotics if they are caused by bacteria. Or they may be treated with other medicines.

Other serious diseases

Smoking is often the cause of lung diseases. For example, smoking can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD refers to a group of diseases that destroy the lungs and make it hard to breathe. COPD includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Other things can also cause lung disease. These include exposure to asbestos.


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