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What does an ill-defined opacity in the left lower lung in a CT scan indicates?

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Posted on Thu, 12 May 2016
Question: Question: What does "an ill-defined opacity in the left lower lung" means? Could this be something potentially related to lung cancer?

I have been coughing for past two months. We went to Vienna for the new year holiday. it was really really cold there. And after we got back to UK on XXXXXXX 4th, Ibegan with a terrible sore throat then quickly turned into terrible cough with lots of dark green sputum. But then i didn't have symptoms associated with a cold such as fever, water eyes or running noses, It was just terrible cough. I thought it was probable just a bad viral infection therefore didn't go to see doctors. The cough seems to have gone after three weeks.

However, at the end of January, I caught another cold - this time, a typical cold: running nose, water eyes, fever as well as cough! I went to my GP at the end of January, but according to my GP: it was only viral infection - no antibiotics need. My fever lasted only one day, but cough persists this time, and keep coughing up a large amount of white thick phlegm. And I also suffer shortness of breath if I talk too much. Went to see another doctor again three weeks ago, and being told again it is viral infection only.

Given the persistence of cough, I decided to see a private doctor in London last Saturday, and being sent to do chest X-ray. The result came back this afternoon, here is the findings:

"There is an ill-defined focus of patchy airspace opacity in the left lower zone which does not obscure the left heart border or the left hemidiaphragm. This may represent a focus of infection and in the first instance a repeat film in 4 weeks following treatment if appropriate is recommended to ensure resolution. If infection is not thought to be present clinically, further imaging with CT may be of value."

The doctor treated it as a chest infection and has already prescribed antibiotics. I still wonder if I should go to see a chest specialist and do a CT straight away instead of waiting for another four weeks. By the way, I got private insurance, hence with the referral letter, my insurance provide can arrange an appointment immediately with a chest specialist.
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Answered by Dr. Indranil Ghosh (6 hours later)
Brief Answer:
seems like chest infection

Detailed Answer:
Hi
Thanks for your query.

The symptoms now are very much suggestive of chest infection. The x-ray report also suggests pneumonitis, which is basically lung infection. So a course of antibiotics seems reasonable.

Going by the report of X-ray, lung cancer is bit unlikely at this point. I don't see a need for immediate CT scan. If symptoms persist and/or X-ray doesn't clear, then we can consider it. Same for pulmonologist consult. If you don't get better in a week then you should get that.

Overall, I don't think it is cancer or anything which can't be controlled.

Hope this helps.
Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Indranil Ghosh

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Practicing since :2004

Answered : 1656 Questions

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What does an ill-defined opacity in the left lower lung in a CT scan indicates?

Brief Answer: seems like chest infection Detailed Answer: Hi Thanks for your query. The symptoms now are very much suggestive of chest infection. The x-ray report also suggests pneumonitis, which is basically lung infection. So a course of antibiotics seems reasonable. Going by the report of X-ray, lung cancer is bit unlikely at this point. I don't see a need for immediate CT scan. If symptoms persist and/or X-ray doesn't clear, then we can consider it. Same for pulmonologist consult. If you don't get better in a week then you should get that. Overall, I don't think it is cancer or anything which can't be controlled. Hope this helps. Regards