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Does a chest x-ray showing dull density mean cancer ?

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Practicing since : 2001
Answered : 12798 Questions
My husband had a chest xray for job physical and it showed ul density.. They thought it may be a nipple shadow so they did another xray blocking the nipples and they said it was still there.. He then had a chest ct scan because he has to get an ok to get this job. He just turned 60 and smoked for 37 years. He quit 9 years ago.I have been researching all over the internet and would like to know from a doctor what this could be besides cancer? He never asked them anything and I wasnt with him because he is training in another state for this new job. It is working as a contractor with the military in Afghanistan. This has been going on for 2 weeks now and I just found out about it because he didn't want to worry me..Thank you..
Fri, 20 Apr 2012 in Lung and Chest disorders
Follow-up: Does a chest x-ray showing dull density mean cancer ? 12 minutes later
Also I forgot to tell you that he had the first chest xray and they thought it may be a nipple shadow so they did another one and the shadow was still there. So he then went to a specialist and she was actually a heart doctor. Her brother was the pulmonary one that he should have went to.. So he told her that his job depended on getting facts about this shadow to determine his new job. She decided to order a ct scan to get to the true answer. In the meantime I am waiting for the results and would to know what else it could be besides cancer.
Thank you!
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 1 hour later
Thanks for writing to us.
Presence of an opacity in the chest X-ray - the cause depends on the size of lesion, whether it is homogeneous, and the site where the opacity has been found. Since your husband is not with you and his reports are at a different place, I presume it will be difficult for you to send the scanned image of x-ray to us by e.mail.

If the opacity is uniform and rounded it can due to a lymph node - due to an infection or due to a mass or cancer.

If it is homogeneous with hazy margins it could be tuberculosis or lymph node swelling due to bronchitis.

A reticulonodular opacity may signify pneumonitic changes in the chest. Without seeing the opacity it is all just a guesswork.

But rest assured, infection is a more common reason for opacity in lungs rather than cancer. However a smoking history in 60 yr old male should not left alone till the diagnosis.

I hope this information has been both informative and helpful for you. If there are additional concerns, I am available for your followups.


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