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Lung diseases

Infiltrate in lung

08/14/2006

Question:

I am a 31 year old female. I recently had my gall bladder removed and after 3 months, I am still having the same pains I had before the surgery. I returned to the Dr. who then ordered a CT scan. The results of the CT scan showed, what he called, a minimal infiltrate in my right lung. He says this is most likely the cause of my pain and to follow up with my family physician. This brings up a lot of concerns regarding lung cancer. I have been a smoker for 6 years. I quit for a while after my surgery but started again. My husband and I have both been researching lung cancer and it`s symptoms, of which I have none of. My question is, could this "minimal infiltrate" be the start of lung cancer??

Answer:

Lung cancer usually presents or begins as a nodule or mass on the chest x-ray or CT scan.  An infiltrate is usually associated with an area of lung collapse or atelectasis or an infection such as pneumonia.  Infrequently an infiltrate may represent the beginning of an unusual lung cancer called bronchoalveolar cell carcinoma.

It would be best for you to review the results of the CT scan with your physician and determine if any further follow up imaging studies or further testing are needed.  Nevertheless, smoking cessation should be at the top of your list for measures to improve your health.  You already quit once at the time of your surgery so you should be able to do it again and stay quit!

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Response by:

Ralph   Panos, MD Ralph Panos, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati