When a person finds themselves coughing up blood, or finds blood in their sputum, it may or may not be a sign of serious illness. However, it is definitely something that needs to be looked into as it is not a natural occurrence.

Does blood in the sputum mean the person has cancer?

People tend to ignore the appearance of blood in their sputum, especially if it is not a recurrent symptom. However, coughing up blood is a very serious matter, and it needs to be investigated, even if the quantity of blood appears to be small.

Though it does not necessarily indicate the presence of lung cancer, the person should immediately go to the emergency ward and consult with a doctor.  Only 20-25% of instances of coughing-up blood are a symptom of lung cancer. The blood may also be caused by other diseases such as tuberculosis, a simple lower-respiratory tract infection, laryngitisor bronchiectasis (a condition in which the bronchial tubes of the lungs are damaged, making it difficult for mucus to be cleared).

If the amount ofblood is more, the person should immediately seek medical help and treat it with utmost urgency. It is always better to consult a doctor immediately to have a better understanding of the cause and its severity.

It may be lung cancer but, not always.

If the person is suspected to have lung cancer, further evaluation of the disease must be carried out. Tests including biopsies and CT scans may be performed to confirm diagnosis and identify an appropriate line of treatment.

The coughing-up of blood is considered to be an especially serious symptom among smokers, who are more prone to lung cancer. Such patients need to consult a clinician, and later an oncologist, if a tumor is detected.

If no apparent cause of coughing-up blood is identified, the symptom should settle down within 2 – 4 weeks. If not, it must be re-evaluated to find out the underlying disease.