I have had a chest x ray after a chest infection which showed a shadow on the left lung. I have seen a consultant who says the xray is inconclusive and I need to have a CAT scan. I have had the breathing tests which were all very good and he says it could be from the infection I had and not to worry - he may also need to do a bronchosopy if he feels it is necessary. I feel absolutely fine now fit and well and breathing is back to normal. I am terrified it could be lung cancer - I am 50 years old and have smoked but have given up now for good. What else could this shadow be - could it be something quite simple.
Hi, welcome to the ehealth forum and I am glad to help you.
You seem concerned by the shadow on left lung on chest x-ray after chest infection.
Abnormal areas within the lung that are more dense than healthy lung tissue will stand out as paler than the surrounding tissue. They are sometimes referred to as 'shadows'. The shape and appearance of the shadow gives the experienced radiologist a clue about the likely diagnosis. However, it is no more than that, and before a firm diagnosis is made, it is very important that further tests are done.
These may include a CT scan, or more invasive procedures such as looking with a 'telescope' what is called a bronchoscopy.
When you have a chest infection the tissues of your lung get filled with fluid and all the cells that your body sends to fight the infection. All of this shows up on a chest X ray as 'shadows'. It normally takes some time for all this fluid and stuff to go away even after the infection has been cleared, and your doctor would often wait a few weeks after the infection is gone before doing this chest X-ray. If the shadows are still there after a while, it is most likely that the fluid etc is taking longer than usual to clear or that there is some scarring to the lung tissue.
It is true that sometimes cancers can show up as shadows on the lung, either cancers of the lung itself or cancers from elsewhere that have spread. At your age with past history of smoking,the possibility of cancr needs to be ruled out though by CT scan and bronchoscopy if required.
Hope this helps. Take care.
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