What does it mean if you are coughing up thick brown phlegm?

Answer

The potential causes of coughing up thick, brown phlegm range from the innocuous, such as having recently eaten chocolate, to the extremely serious, such as lung cancer. The presence or absence of other symptoms can help determine if the cause of the brown phlegm is serious, according to Mucus Color.

If thick, brown phlegm is accompanied by a fever or shivering, it's a possible indicator of pneumonia, emphysema or bronchitis. Mucus color indicates that if the cough doesn't go away and is accompanied by chest pain, lung cancer is a possibility. Thick, brown phlegm on its own is not necessarily an indicator of lung cancer, however, since smoking can also produce this type of phlegm.

Reference:
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