Respiratory Disorders Expert Forum
'Something' on lung ct scan
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'Something' on lung ct scan

I went to the doctor for a persistent cough. He thought it was broncitus, ordered a chest x-ray. Found "something" then ordered CT scan. "Something" is still there, and I am to have repeat CT in two weeks (one month after first one). It has been variously called a mass, an inflamation (inflammation), a spot, a shadow, a leison. Of course, I'm sure it's lung cancer. What else could it be? Cough is some better but still there, also have chest pressure and tightness. I'm 59, female, overweight but in good health, have never smoked. What else can a ct scan detect if it's not a tumor?
I am not dealing well with the waiting.
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251132_tn?1198082422
All of the terms you have used to describe the shadow, suggest that it could be a lot of things other than lung cancer. This is especially true for a non-smoker.  It could be a benign tumor, secondary to a lung infection (especially with a fungus) or allergy.  It also could be any of the granulomatous diseases; diseases that don't fit into the tumor or infection category.

Unfortunately, it is common to suspect the worst but there really are a number of likely possibilities.  Your doctors may have to biopsy this lesion.  Hopefully this can be done in a relatively non-invasive way.
15 Comments
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Avatar_f_tn
It could just be scar tissue or fibrosis. The repeat test is probably to rule out any type of growing mass cancerous or non-cancerous. It will be compared with the first to see if there has been any change. Substantial amounts of scar tissue can cause trouble breathing.
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Avatar_n_tn
You should have had a PET scan immediately...medical technology has nearly moved beyond the need for biopsies and repeat radiology scans to determine malignancy
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Avatar_n_tn
Can bronchitus (bronchitis) or asthsma show up on a ct scan as anything?
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Avatar_f_tn
Neither Bronchitis or Asthma show up on an x-ray. Asthma is usually diagnosed by patient history, and pulmonary function tests. Bronchitis is diagnosed by examination and symptoms. If you had an infection like pneumonia, that would show by x-ray, and so would any sacr tissue from past lung damage.
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Avatar_n_tn
I can only give you my own experiences but since 1995 i have had spots show up on my lungs from time to time. I was told twice that i had T.B.{both times they were wrong}They told me 3times that they thought i had lung cancer{i didnt}And 2weeks ago i went back again to get the results of another suspect of spots on my lungs and they turned out to be calcifications that the dr said were nothing to worry about, but he told me later that my lungs were in a terrible state from emphysema.
  So i really try not to worry anymore until i get the results.
But i know that isnt always easy for everyone. Good luck and try not to worry.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks. I alternate between thinking everything will be Just Fine and thinking about what songs I want played at my funeral!
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Avatar_n_tn
went to doctor with bronchitis and breathing trouble,cough with clear mucos. ended up with cat scan. had nodules on both lungs, was sent for a pet and they were hot on pet scan. i had 2 biopsys at cancer center and they were benign.you can have inflamation (inflammation) which shows up hot on a pet scan, there are many false positives.i have had 4 followups over the last 3 years.i still get bad cough every year for weeks on end, chest discomfort and post nasal drip,meds help a little, bottom line is,it is not always cancer and a biopsy is still the gold standard for diagnosis.by the way, i havent smoked in years. best of luck
usnvet
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks. I got the other cat scan and it said the mass was decreasing and to come back in three months. Since it isn't getting bigger, it is unlikely to be cancer. I still have to figure out why I, like you, get a bad cough more than once a year that just hangs on and on.
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Avatar_n_tn
two yrs ago i developed a productive cough (non smoker for several years).  I had had several sinus infections before this cough developed. my primary doctor told i had bronchitis, gave me meds, but it never got better and went months coughing up yellow & green sputum and having a general feeling of fatigue. At the same time i had been seeing different doctors for left upper leg pain.  I had different test run. one be an RA Factor test. it came back high. i went to a rheumatolist (a friend or ours.) he gave me a complete workover and was absolutely sure i did not have rheumatoid arthritis. he said some other inflamation (inflammation) was going on in my body. (i might add that a spine specialist ordered the RA Factor test and dismissed the result of it being high.he did not feel concerned, however i did,especially since it had been normal on my last physical exam.) when the rheumatoid dr. questioned me, i told him of the productive cough i had had for several months. he immediately ordered a chest xray-guess what? it came back abnormal. on examination with a stethoscope, my lungs always sounded clear and bronchial tree sounded clear. i was referred to a pulmonary dr. he did a bronchoscopy with biopsy. at first they thought i had tuberculosis, did a TB test, and quarantined me until results were back. the diagnosis: MAI (mycobacterial avium infection (a non-tuberculosis bacterial infection. have no idea how i got it but my specialist says they believe it is picked up from the soil, water, plants or bird dropping. good news-it is not contagious, bad news-itis extremely hard to treat. it has been a 1 1/2 years and my lung ct scans and sputum cultures still reveal that i have it. i am many many antibiotics several times a week. i have lost weight. have good days and bad days. the coughing up phlegm was one of the symptoms.  i would recommend anyone who has a chronic productive cough for more than a couple months should get a chest xray and/or lung ct scan and a bronchoscopy. there are things out in our environment that can make us sick if we are prone it. excessive mucous and phelgm is not always due to sinus infections, it could be a lung infection.
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Avatar_n_tn
A recent chest xray showed a 2 cm nodule on my left lung. I had a CTscan Wednesday and am schedule for a PETscan soon. I have no symptoms at all - this was a routine xray. The pulmonary specialist did not give me any encouragement that the nodule was benign but instead talked about having it biopsied after the the PETscan was done. The best way I can describe this spot was that it was dense in the middle with these squiggly, hairly lines spreading out around it -there were no define areas. It was the ugliest thing I had ever seen. Does anyone know if this is typical of a malignant tumor?

Thanks.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am writing this on behalf of my mother.

My mother was diagnosed with Pneumonia (on the upper right lung) and emphysema a round two months ago.  Her doctor put her on Antibiotics, where she responded very very well to them, and also on cortisone (for a 5 day dosage for the emphysema) where there was also improvement.  Her physical examination went very well according to the Doctor (no sounds from the lung, no coughing,...), but then when she compared the original X-ray with the X-Ray she took after she was done with the antibiotics, she said that she would like to do a Cat Scan, as there are shadows (streaky/patchy) I forgot which exact term she used.

I am by no means a doctor, but from the research I did on the internet some indicate that it is cancer, some indicate that this is due to the pneumonia and emphysema combination.

Can some one shed a light on this?

Thanks to all.
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Avatar_n_tn
wgs_va  -  Your mother could also have a variety of other lung issues that are not related to malignancy.  Most lung nodules or masses are not cancer.  Fungal infections are not rare and may have even cuased the pnuemonia (pneumonia) type symptoms.  Please don't jump to the conclusion that it's cancer because it very well may not be the case.

I can speak from experience with 2 lung nodules, the larger of which is 2cm X 2 cm.  I also have a bit of emphysema and I also smoked for many many years. (Not now or ever again)  My nodules were the result od a fungal infection.  

The only real way to know if it's cancer is with a biopsy.

I pray everything turns out well for your mom.

God bless,

Tom
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Avatar_n_tn
First of all, I thank God I found this website.  Just reading your Q & A's has encouraged me.   I went for a "simple physical" just yesterday, prior to having a tummy tuck in mid-May (go figure) and my chest x-ray showed "a spot on my lung".   I then went for a CT and am now waiting to hear from the dr.
The waiting is horrible (I cry even as I write this..)   I have been a "social smoker" for about 25 yrs (I mostly only liked to smoke when I was having drinks).  However, I have absolutely NO smoker's symptoms...no cough, no phlegm, no shortness of breath...nothing.  AND here's the ironic twist...I quit completely last Thursday, the 27th, my grandson's 2nd birthday and have done perfectly, even through my ordeal yesterday!  
Mostly, I just wanted to tell you all how much I needed to read your comments and know that someone truly knows how awful I am feeling right now.   My mind, of course, has taken the "worst" road to go down and I'm pretty down right now.
Thanks for listening and wish me luck.
K.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have a persistent cough for the last few months when I'm in an air conditioned environment. CT Scan showed pneumonia like pictures on my lungs - white spots all over but concentrated on the top portions of the lungs. Broncoscopy, blood tests, lung saline, and mucus sampling etc... showed everything normal. Tequin did nothing. My Pulminary doctor says possibly Lupus, but he is unsure, so I'm seeing a Rheumatologist. I'm a male athelete with no problems, except a sore back every so often, with no typical symptoms of Lupus. I'm worried. They're planning a lung biopsy next. I'm in no pain, and I still play sports aggressively. Anyone have any idea what I may have. God Bless.
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A related discussion, What's going on? was started.
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A related discussion, shadow on lung was started.
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A related discussion, Shadow in the lung was started.
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