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Joined: Jul 2009

On June 17th i went to the emergency room with chest pains. They took an X ray and found something in my lungs. Then they did a CT scan and after having them read they said it was not cancer. Can a CT scan truly detect cancer? I have 2 spots one is super tiny and the other is 8mm.
I just want to know if a CT scan can truly detect cancer.

PBJ Austin
Posts: 347
Joined: Mar 2009

Please see my thread entitled "Lifelong non-smoker with possible lung cancer," it's not very far down the list. Your story is a little different from mine, but I'll sum what happened with me. About 3 weeks ago I went to the ER with chest pains. They did a CT scan and found a 6 cm mass in my lung. The ER doctor told me he was 90% certain this was a solid mass of cancer. I cannot put into words the devastation my husband and I felt, but of course many people on this board can relate.

They did a biopsy about 5 days later and it was inconclusive since they didn't get any cells they could test. They did a broncoscopy about 10 days after that and found no cancer cells. They also said it was not a solid mass as the ER doctor stated, it's mostly dead tissue.

I don't mean to suggest they were wrong in telling you that you don't have cancer and it is my most sincere wish that you don't. But I would definitely have more testing done, as they got it completely bass-ackwards with me. (and thank God for that!!) Once again contrary to what the ER doctor said, it was not a solid mass and it was not cancer. It appeared that way on the CT scan, but it simply wasn't true. Please have further testing done by a pulmonoligist, this is too important to dismiss.

Good luck and please post back your results.

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sep 2006

PBJ makes some good points, and I would encourage you to read her earlier post along with responses to it.

In the meantime, I would suggest this: a CAT scan is indeed used to detect abnormal growths, nodes, nodules, whatever. These can be, however, the result of any number of things, especially ones as small as the ones you describe. They can be scars from pneumonia or bronchitis, for example, they can be the result of a current infection (I was once told I had 10 months to live because of all the spots revealed by a CAT scan in both of my lungs...these turned out, with one nasty little exception, to be an infection, accidentally cleared up by antibiotics I was taking for another infection).

What is VERY telling, however, is a subsequent scan perhaps three or four months down the road. This second scan can be compared to the first to determine whether the nodules are, in fact, growing. A second scan, in fact, taken two months after the first, is how we determined that most of my 'cancer' had disappeared and that only one node was growing. This one proved to be malignant.

The bottom line: insist that you receive a follow-up scan two, three, or four months down the road. If nothing has changed, you can probably sleep a lot better at night.

Take care,


Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2009

I am new here an not sure how to use these message boards...I had a lung 2cm nodule an was told it was cancerous by having a biopsy..I am having a bone scan this week an pet scan next week..I am scared can anyone give me some encouraging advice.i am 46 female smoker,which i just quit. I was an still in shock .all emails would be welcome.widdledd39@aol..thanks

cobra1122's picture
Posts: 244
Joined: Jul 2009

I realize that may sound rather dumb, but right now the only thing you can do is stay calm. Once ,they have more information, they can set up your treatment. I am not going to put up fancy and treatments here, because they may not even pretain to you, let alone just be more confusing. I am a 49yrs old (x) Marine with terminal lung cancer, I am on Hospice because I also have ealry onset Altzheimers and Parkinsons, suffered multiple strokes and have less than 45% of my heart working. I have done the treatments as best as my health will allow and after a 1 yr from diagnosis I am still going strong,so stay calm it can always be worse. when all the tests and scans are done you'll know where you stand and where to go from there. Just try to embrace the positive things in life and leave the negative behind, you don't need it. When things get stressful, talk to someone, get it out. I volunteer 1 day aweek at the rehab hospital my wife is a Occupational therapist at, I talk t the patients and listen, i try to get their mind on the positive that they can keep going and that even with limitation they can still live a normal life. I was a right handed artist who could walk and do math like most people breath. Now I am a left handed artist in a powerchair that has massive trouble with math and memory, But I wont quit, I have to much to do, % grandchildren to visit, SO PLEASE RELAX AND JUST TAKE IT ONE DAY AT A TIME.....

Our prayers and best to you, your family and everyone...

Posts: 3
Joined: Jul 2009

You certainly are a hero to any of us who have faced only one of the problems you have and you have managed with a wonderful wit and grace...God bless you and your's and keep on going

wicker_woman's picture
Posts: 19
Joined: Aug 2004


I know how you feel, I was diagnosed at 47 and after my battle I'm happy to tell you I will be an 8 year NSCL Stage III-B - Large Cell survivor next month. You may want to read my story for inspiration. You can also e-mail me at the site if you have questions.

Best of luck to you,

Greggriggs's picture
Posts: 132
Joined: Dec 2006

I had a bad cough for awhile,well a long while to be truthful.
I smoked for 40 plus years.so i did not pay attention .
But then I started coughing up blood that got my attention . So I went and got a Ex Ray.
I was so happy when it came back clear!!!!
They told me it was a virus so I did not worry any longer.
But dang a couple of months went by and i was spitting up more blood.
Just by chance my regular Dr was gone and they sent me to another Dr he gave me a test for TB. that came back negative .
And he sent me to a pulmonary Dr, he said my lungs sounded good and I breathed good but just for kicks he would do the bronchoscopy .
I remember it well I was laying there half out and heard him say there it is A tumor. They do a snip thing then shoot water in an suck it up for a biopsy . You know your in trouble when they tell you I would like to see you and your wife in a week.
Well they saved my life I lost a lung but I am still here
My surgen told me it is not cancer untill they do a biopsy.
So get more test one sure thing is a pet Scan.
Lotsa luck My prayers are with you and your family.

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