CSN Login
Members Online: 12

"shadows" mean what?

Fergus2007
Posts: 109
Joined: Dec 2007

This might be a silly question but:
What are some of the things "shadows" on the lung might be other then cancer?
I know the only way to really know is to do a biopsy ... so I was wondering what also shows up as "shadows".

Do lungs not retain old damage done years ago from smoking?! Do THOSE show as shadows??
... or does bronchites?!

MadelynJoe's picture
MadelynJoe
Posts: 96
Joined: Sep 2003

Dear Fergus:

Shadows can mean scar tissue, infection, calcium deposits or a tumor.

The best way to diagnose the cause of the shadow is a biopsy. I had nonsmall cell lung cancer in 2005. It was a small tumor (2.8 cm) and they removed my lower right lobe. I have been fine since that time. On October 31, 2007, I had my regular 6-month CAT scan and they saw 2 shadows on my lung. I had a needle biopsy and they only found scar tissue.

Get the testing done before you panic thinking that it is cancer. If it does turn out to be cancerous, you've caught it early and you will be highly curable.

All the best,

Madelyn

Fergus2007
Posts: 109
Joined: Dec 2007

The reason I'm asking is: My father was diagnosed with colon cancer 3 months ago and "possible spread" (based on the fact there are "shadows and spots" on the lungs and liver) became "definite spread" WITHOUT a biopsy on either organ when this made him eligible for a study drug.
I know my father has had a lot of bad habits that might cause "spots and shadows" that are NOT cancer.
... and I'm wondering WHY no biopsies where done.
Without the biopsies he's being treated for a very aggressive colon cancer even though the colon cancer isn't very big to begin with and would be easy to remove ... .

Greggriggs's picture
Greggriggs
Posts: 132
Joined: Dec 2006

Way to go Madelyn .
She is right my Doc told me no mater what scan or xray it is not cancer til it's biopsyed .

Fergus2007
Posts: 109
Joined: Dec 2007

The reason I'm asking is: My father was diagnosed with colon cancer 3 months ago and "possible spread" (based on the fact there are "shadows and spots" on the lungs and liver) became "definite spread" WITHOUT a biopsy on either organ when this made him eligible for a study drug.
I know my father has had a lot of bad habits that might cause "spots and shadows" that are NOT cancer.
... and I'm wondering WHY no biopsies where done.
Without the biopsies he's being treated for a very aggressive colon cancer even though the colon cancer isn't very big to begin with and would be easy to remove ... .

cabbott
Posts: 1046
Joined: Aug 2006

While that it is cetainly true that you don't know for sure that it is cancer until you see it under a microscope (and then it is obvious), there are some patterns of spots on the liver that are pretty definate for cancer mets. Same with the lungs. Radiologists have to study those patterns and they give the probablity to the doctors that order the xrays. MRI's and CAT scans, especially PET/CAT scans can pick up mets with a fair amount of certainty. Check and see if your dad had any of these tests. A biopsy would be needed for primary lung cancer, but if the CAT scan or MRI or PET scan had a pattern of mets and he already had colon cancer, they may have decided it would be unnecessary to do a biopsy. Chemo to reverse the mets and reduce the cancer load would come first. Then if chemo was able to reduce the tumor spread, they might later remove the colon primary.

jaminkw
Posts: 6
Joined: Dec 2007

The doctors at MD Anderson as well as a pulmonologist I went to locally said there was nothing definitive enough to biopsy with my malignant pleura. They saw adenocarcinoma cells in the fluid removed from my lung and the PET "lit up" cancer cells in the pleura and the left lung. They finally nailed the IIIB lung cancer by analyzing the fluid.

Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2014 © Cancer Survivors Network