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Shadow on Chest XRay And Terrified

Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2012

My husband has been having infrequent (maybe twice a month?) choking/coughing fits where he can't seem to catch his breath and almost vomits. They last for a minute or two, then he's fine. Other than that he seems to be in good health.
He had his annual physical last Friday and mentioned the coughing fits, so his doc ordered a chest xray. We got a call later that night from his doctor, who said that the chest xray showed an abnormal shadow on the lower left lung. He mentioned that it looked like pnuemonia/infection or a collapsed lung, but since my husband is feeling fine he doesn't think its pnuemonia and doesn't want to start any antibiotics yet. He said my husband needs to have a CAT scan to see exactly what's going on, and couldn't rule out anything at this point, including a tumor.

I am going crazy with worry. Would the radiologist be able to tell the difference between a tumor and an infection on a chest xray? What else could this shadow be?? Could he have a lung infection with no symptoms? My husband has never smoked, and is 51 yrs. old. The CAT scan is on Wed June 6th - I wish they could have done it today so we could get some answers. I am just so scared for him, and I guess I'm looking for some hope that this could still turn out ok.....

Posts: 741
Joined: Mar 2011

Hello, and welcome to the site. From following threads here and inspire.com, I have learned that there are a couple of infections that can cause a shadow, also, scarring from previous infections can too. OFTEN these infection sites are biopsied and found to be just that. But, yes, infections frequently appear very much like a cancer on film. The radiologists have extensive experience reading these x-rays and their recommendations shouldn't really be questioned. It is never cancer until the biopsy is finished and the doctor says it is cancer.

It is not my intention to sugarcoat this though. Increasingly non-smokers and people that have never been exposed to smoke are developing lung cancer. For that reason we need to remove the stigma of lung cancer and spend more money searching for a cure. (Excuse please, sometimes I just have to go into lecture mode.)

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