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A 31-year-old female asked:

My chest x-ray showed something wrong but the ct scan was clear. what could it be? they thought it might be a collapsed lung or cancer. i have to wait a week to see the doctor. i am scared.

4 doctor answers8 doctors weighed in
Dr. Matthew Majzun
Internal Medicine - Pulmonary Critical Care 16 years experience
May be nothing: If the ct was done after the xray, then there is a good chance that there was nothing there. Chest xrays occasionally suggest abnormalities that are not found on ct scans; however, the ct scan is much better at demonstrating pathology. If the ct was normal, i wouldn't worry very much. But, make sure you follow up with your doctor.
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Dr. Robert Uyeda
General Surgery 47 years experience
CT scans: Are much more sensitive than plain chest x rays. If it was clear, the chest x ray abnormality was probably nothing. It is unlikely that this is cancer.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Joseph Accurso
Radiology 31 years experience
Shadow, overlap: A chest xray is really a shadow of a patient's lungs and chest, taking 3 dimensions and "squashing" it down into 2. Sometimes, those overlapping structures form a "summation shadow" which can look like a nodule. Since the radiologist wants to be sensitive and not miss a possible problem, they comment about it in the report and perhaps recommend a chest ct.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Marius Frasie
Internal Medicine 28 years experience
Relax: Plain chest xray shows sometimes a lot of things but if ct is negative you can relax. I would still quit smoking especially if you are short of breath and apparently you have asthma not quite well controlled on current meds, it will help.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Last updated Jan 5, 2019

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