What can a spot on lung mean in an X-ray?
  • Not sure where else to put this. My head is spinning at the moment. A good friend who 20 years ago survived breast cancer, yesterday went to the doctor for an issue relating to a healing injury to I think clavicle (not sure exactly), but at any rate, had an X-ray done and the physical therapist mentioned a mass on left lung that showed up in X-ray. She has a cough that started at same time last year and was told to take allergy medicine. The cough is back again ( not sure if it fully went away) and was told same thing. She is trying to get in touch w her doc, but not in office til tomorrow. Please someone tell me that this could be something more manageable than cancer.
  • pneumonia is also a possibility, and more common than cancer.
  • I had similar scenario about 10 years ago. In the end they did an open biopsy, and discovered that it was a small knot of cartilage, that had grown large enough to be seen on X-ray.
  • What was the PT doing reading the scan? That's unusual, and I would probably question that first. How did the PT get the scan, and did anyone else -- radiologist? oncologist? -- see it and worry?

    Bone mets are the more common or likely progression of bc.
  • My 89 year old mother who has had cancer twice had a spot on her lung. They think it was scar tissue. It has not proven to be cancer.
  • Also, when I was in ER for shoulder pain, they did an xray. mant hours later some doc comes up to me and asked me if I ever had cancer. Good grief!
  • "Spot in Lung on Chest X-ray Common and Typically Noncancerous"
  • I went through this a year ago, ended up having surgery and thankfully the mass ended up being benign. The worst period is now when you just worry and you don't know - worst period of my life. She'll need to get a scan first - if I were her I'd push for a PET-CT scan which she should be able to get scheduled asap.

    To coffeeking - I'm sure a radiologist read the xray and that was notated in the letter.
  • I was told I had some odd things on my chest X-ray when all I had was bronchitis. Can't remember what he called it...
  • It's still odd for a PT to be discussing it with a patient.
  • My BIL had a spot, which turned out to be a spot of TB that the body had walled off and dealt with, that no one had ever known about until he had an xray of his shoulder.
  • My moms previous doctor scared the heck out of us re spots on lung xray and wanted todo full biopsy she went to another doctor for second opinion and we found out it was old scar tissue

    Also a technician should never ever say anything until the x ray is read by a professional, i would assume a physical therapist is not a qualified radiologists either and spoke out of turn
  • Yeah, maybe it was in a letter to the PT, but then why didn't the doctor address it if it's truly an area of concern?

    If the PT was reading the scan, then...why?

  • Thank you everyone! Some good questions as well as some reassurances. I'm not sure about the specifics of who/ how the X-ray was given to the pt, so I may be wrong on that part, but at least I think I can breathe a bit easier for tonight and see what the doc says tomorrow. Good night
  • Don't fck around. Go to MSKCC.
    Post edited by flugermongers at 2013-04-25 00:50:40
  • Lung spot 20+years post breast cancer is nothing to trifle with.
  • FWIW, many physios here need to read Xrays & scans in order to carry out their work with you - they're taught how to read them, and how to query appropriately (and then refer back to the original doc) any odd shadows and marks that appear. Such things also affect the treatment they'd offer the patient: depending on what's happening with your lungs, you may be given more or less physically exhausting work and more ore less chest-muscle work if that's also where the presenting injured-region is. There's a lot of information here that the patient may not have passed on to OP as she may not have been aware of it, however a persistent cough as well as clavicle injury would definitely require the PT to have internal information for appropriate treatment to be determined and progress monitored. If the PT isn't meant to read such information, it wouldn't have been supplied.
  • As has been pointed out above, there is no way of telling if this is something serious until she is properly examined by a qualified professional. Here is hoping that the further examination shows there is nothing to worry about.

    Serious or not, the anxiety your friend is dealing with over this news needs to be addressed quickly. Immediate follow up is also needed in the event that further tests show a condition requiring treatment. She should follow up with her doctor and with any referral the doctor might make ASAP.
  • Oh and second thing she should after seeing her doctor is track down any/all chest xrays from the last couple of years.
  • Small update: it seems what Joanne described above is the case - it was the pt reading xray, so my friend finally got in touch w her doctor and she has an appt for a scan next week. They apparently looked at an X-ray from last year and there was nothing there then, so whatever it is is new. So now, we wait.
  • Don't fck around. Go to MSKCC.

    I have cancer. I went there once. I will never return. PM me for details if you want.

    Also, one of my husband's co-workers related that they had a very similar experience when his wife went there for her breast cancer. She ended up switching to Robert Wood Johnson.

  • spont - don't normally comment on these things however MSKCC is the best cancer hospital in the area. Folks fly in from all over the country and world to be treated/diagnosed there. They have specialists for their specialists. They are involved in cutting edge clinical trials. Some of the doctors are not the warmest caring "appearing" professionals but many are incredibly smart research technicians and develope individualized treatments for their patients. And that 's really what matters....results. If you had a bad experience at MSKCC that is a real shame however my
    families several personal experiences have been life changing. Best of luck to all involved.
  • I have heard mixed things about MSKCC. It is absolutely the best cancer *research* hospital around, but that does not mean it is the best place to receive care. I have heard some patients express that everything is driven by the clinical trials, and that the patient is secondary. I also know people who are certain it saved their lives. Just another perspective.

    At lukeysboat - I am very glad that your friend is going for the scan, and hope all turns out well.
  • goalinmind, I sent you a PM.
  • I highly recommend this website http://cancergrace.org/ which is an unbelievable resource especially for those like the OP's friend and those with lung cancer. The forums are monitored by their "faculty" who are top doctors from some of the best hospitals across the country including MD Anderson, Stanford, UPenn etc. It's a great place to a get a reality check on what doctors are telling you and your fears or intuition. These doctors are those that believe that patients have the time and resources (via the internet) to actually be partners and advocates in their own care.

    I second those with mixed reviews on MSKCC and will say that while something may be "best" it doesn't mean it's best for you. There are amazing cancer docs everywhere - they are not all at MSKCC.


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