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could radiologist report be wrong?

Heather M.

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Hi everyone-

I think the shock of my mom's CT results (trachea mass growing) has worn off and now I am able to think rationally. Watch out!! :lol: It occurred to me that my mom's oncologist is trusting the radiologists report without having looked at the scans. Has anyone had experiences with the radiologists reports being wrong? He (the radiologist) also wrote that he thought my mom had lymphoma. I am really glad that her radiation oncologist will be looking at the scans and mri. Also, my mom finished her 6th cycle of chemo on Wednesday of one week and had the CT done on Tuesday of the next week. Couldn't the chemo still be working and the CT results not be accurate. Thanks once again to you all.

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Frankly, I would get a second opinion. Any doctor can be wrong. They are human and yes, they can make mistakes and overlook things. Just the fact that you ask this questions makes me think that you don't have full faith in these doctors. Please, get a second opinion right away. Keep us posted.


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I agree that they can be wrong. Wife's Onocologist did not feel comfortable on my wife's previous CT report and after starting her on Topotecan and Zometa for two week's ordered it stopped and had her do a mRI in which he saw a suspious mass in spine so has reordered her to resume treatment. From what we understand as we have not had our meeting with him that this is being done on the side of caution.

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Since June 2004, I have had LOTS of scans. In the written reports from just about every one of them, there have been "errors" -- or at least a radiologist trying to err on the CYA side of things. I've found that once you mention the "C" word, every test and report you have from then on will have that in it, and often as the diagnosis of choice. The Pulmonologist I go to says he sees the same thing with his HIV patients -- that once the radiologists hear/see "HIV," the reports all come back with the known set of infectious processes that are related to HIV.

The only ones of the docs I've been to who actually look at the scans themselves (other than the Radiologists) are the Radiation Oncologist when I was having that done, and the Pulmonologist. (FWIW, the Rad. Onc. believes that PET scans are more or less useless after the first one for diagnostic purposes. He relies on the detailed CTs they do when setting up their patients for radiation, and CTs for follow up, or actual biopsies.)

A few weeks ago when I was sick, sick, sick with my gallstone & stopped up bile duct, they kept having me do scans. When I had a CT w/contrast, my Pulmonologist was out of the office, so they sent me to see one of his associates after the scan. I walked in there, and he said just this "see your Oncologist immediately - you have multiple mets all over." Huh? Where? How many? What does "all over" mean? "Just see your Oncologist -- multiple mets, liver, pancreas." 15 seconds to tell me that, and a $95 bill. (grrr)

I see the Oncologist the next day, after spending a grueling evening worried that it's all over for me, and she says 'Why are you here?" She gives me a copy of the CT report (I keep copies of all scans on CD and all reports) and goes over it -- they see "lesions" in my liver that have been there from day 1 -- hemangioma that haven't changed an iota, in the same place, etc. This time, since I have elevated lipase, those "lesions" suddenly became mets. As did the pancreatitis.

The truth? The gallbladder & duct problem was causing the pancreatitis and the skewed lab results -- high lipase, bilirubin climbing daily, etc.

The next test was an ultrasound of my abdomen -- they find out I just had a CT scan, so out comes that report, and the US report sounds almost identical to that. Then the PET scan, showing activity in those same places.

Well guess what folks? When you have a gallstone and a stopped up bile duct, it affects a lot of things. It can spew bile into your liver, causing it to do strange things, and almost always results in pancreatitis. When the duct stops up, your body still has to process and relieve itself of the bile, so it begins going out of your system in alternate ways. Your urine will turn dark, and your stools very light in color, because the bile comes out through the kidneys. NOT a good thing to have happen for an extended period of time.

The bottom line was that the washings and samples he took from the pancreas and around my gallbladder during the ERCP were clean, and he (gastroenterologist) believes that all the other stuff will go away now that's solved. I will probably have to go back in a few months and have a permanent stent put in, but for now, once he got me cleaned out, I'm SO much better.

And that was a lot of words just to tell you that yes -- you need someone other than a radiologist to look at your scans IMO. EVERY one of them. They will go for the worst possible thing to cover themselves. The docs who see you all the time know your body and your situation the best, so even if they aren't looking at the actual scans, they can often interpret the report based on your particular situation.

Good luck sorting through it all!


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Di what you wrote is exactly what our Onogologist told my wife and that was the reason he ordered the MRI for his own review. Still not sure if he has seen the scan or not as the MRI tech's may have given him a phone report. The reason i say he may not is because we live in western Kansas and he come's out from Wichita thus why the Chemo and zometa has been ordered to be restarted to just be safe. So heather hang in there as your suspicion's may be well founded.......

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chemo since may '04.

CT's every 2 months.

each report was interval decrease until nov '04.

nov report was NED......

switched to maintainance chemo.

jan '05 scan said interval INCREASE's.

i got CT images and looked for myself to get some idea of the extent.


complained to Dr.

told "every radiologist reads them a little different".

what a bunch of crap! i can understand measuring different points on the tumor and getting different size but not reporting any tumors is simply bad medicine. especially when my chemo was changed as a result.

thank you university medical center, radiology dept.

get a CD of your scans and review them yourself or take them to another Dr for a sanity check.


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