Lung cancer is difficult to diagnose early, local expert says

A year after being diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer Rush Limbaugh died. The long time radio talk show host was 70 years old. Dr. Scot Ackerman joins us to talk about the lung cancer.

Rush Limbaugh, the conservative talk show radio host who battled stage 4 lung cancer, died Wednesday at ago 70.

He had been diagnosed with lung cancer last February.

Local oncologist Dr. Scot Ackerman said the sad thing about lung cancer is that it can be hard to diagnose early because the early symptoms of shortness of breath and cough can be attributed to many other ailments.

He pointed out that Limbaugh had known asthma.

“For him to have some shortness of breath, this wasn’t that unusual,” Ackerman said. “People get shortness of breath all the time. You get a cold, you get allergies, you may get a cough from that, so those symptoms certainly mimic that of lung cancer.”

In 2003, Limbaugh admitted an addiction to painkillers and entered rehabilitation. Authorities opened an investigation into alleged "doctor shopping," saying he received up to 2,000 pills from four doctors over a period of six months, but he ultimately reached a deal with prosecutors that dismissed the single charge.

Limbaugh was also a known smoker of cigars, which Ackerman said could have contributed to his lung cancer, depending on how much he smoked.

“It’s all about the amount of tobacco you inhale,” Ackerman said. “If someone’s smoking cigars in great volume, they’re going to have a higher risk of lung cancer.”

For more from Ackerman’s interview on The Morning Show, play the video at the top of this article.

About the Author:

Jennifer, who anchors The Morning Shows and is part of the I-TEAM, loves working in her hometown of Jacksonville.