Lung cancer and pleurisy. Coloured frontal chest X-ray of a patient with secondary lung cancer. The cancer has spread (metastasised) from the kidneys (primary cancer). The lung cancer has caused pleurisy, an inflammation (white, left) of the membranes that line the chest cavity and lungs (the pleura). Inflammation of the pleura leads to the lungs rubbing against the chest wall, which causes sharp pain when breathing. Fluid may accumulate in the space between the membranes (pleural effusion), which relieves the pain of the pleurisy and may cause the patient to think they are recovering. Treatment of pleurisy is aimed at the underlying cause, which in this case is kidney cancer.
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