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Lung Cancer

Shadow on chest x-ray

12/15/2009

Question:

I recently had a chest xray for heart palpitations ( heart is ok, just anxiety) but the radiologist saw a shadow on the lung and recommended a repeat in 4 weeks. My doctor said the wait was because the shadow was not suspicious. It was probably a remnant from an infection as I just got over a sore throat, fever and cough or an artefact. My blood count was slightly out like someone who was just ill. I have never smoked, healthy, fit 43 year old female. Are there different levels of suspicion of xray shadows? Are lung cancers identifiable on an xray? I am very worried and anxious.

Answer:

Many times "shadows" they see on CXR are nothing.  They will probably want to get a chest CT to see if there is really anything there.  The chance of cancer in a non-smoker your age is fairly low.

I hope this helps.

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Response by:

Sandra L Starnes, MD Sandra L Starnes, MD
Assistant Professor of Surgery
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati