Medical Q&As

Shadow = cancer?

My mother who is 65 years old has been told she has a shadow on her lung. She is a smoker. She is now going for further tests. Does this mean cancer?

A shadow on the lung is not synonymous with cancer however that possibility needs to be excluded because your mother is a smoker. There are several other possible diagnoses to account for the presence of the shadowing. It may be necessary for her to undergo a procedure known as bronchoscopy. This involves the passing of a flexible tube through the mouth and down through the windpipe into the lung thereby allowing direct visual inspection of the area that appears as a shadow on the x ray. It is possible to take a tissue sample from the affected area enabling further analysis to take place in the pathology lab. This process should enable the making of a precise diagnosis.