A 30-year-old female asked:
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can lung cancer be missed on an x-ray?

4 doctor answers
Dr. William Walsh
16 years experience Addiction Medicine
Easily: Some cancers do not ever show up on x-ray, others look like pneumonia. A chest ct is often needed.
Answered on Sep 22, 2016
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Dr. Robert Binford
37 years experience Thoracic Surgery
Yes: Unfortunately there is a limit to the resolution of a chest x-ray. Small lesions can be missed. In addition, a chest xray is just a 2 dimensional projection comparing desities of different structures. If a tumor happens to overlap with another structure of the same density then you can't even see it. A ct scan can give a higher resolution picture but even it can miss a tumor at times.
Answered on Dec 10, 2012
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Dr. Ed Friedlander
43 years experience Pathology
Yes: Especially, if they are near the point at which the vessels and airways enter the lung, they can be concealed by the other solid tissues. Or a cancer may be masked by the pneumonia it causes by plugging an airway, or be too small to resolve on a chest plain film.
Answered on Sep 22, 2016
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Dr. Liawaty Ho
22 years experience Hematology and Oncology
Yes it can: Sensitivity and specificity of chest x-ray to diagnose lung nodule/cancer are not perfect. Small nodules can be easily missed on chest x-ray. Ct scan will be more sensitive-compared to chest x-ray - in picking up small nodules.
Answered on Apr 25, 2015
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Dr. Amrita Dosanjh
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CT scan: A CT scan is more accurate, and if there is a concern and risk factors, please discuss with your physician.
A 50-year-old female asked:
Dr. Randall Zuckerman
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Yes: Chest X-ray is a good test, but not a perfect test. CT scan is much more sensitive.
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A 39-year-old female asked:
Dr. Arthur Heller
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Possible, unlikely: Assuming well performed, well read by competent radiology specialists, it is unlikely that cancer would be missed. Could be other causes not seen with ... Read More
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A 48-year-old member asked:
Dr. Carlos Encarnacion
34 years experience Medical Oncology
No way: ...we can answer your question. You provide no information. You should discuss the situation with his treating doctor to address your concerns.

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