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Female age 31 Chest X-ray results, need some advice


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Hi everyone, I’m just looking for some advice. I’m a female aged 31.

I went to the doctors with shoulder blade pain which radiates down my arm causing pins and needles. I’ve had this pain on and off for many years, but more recently the pain has radiated to my arm, armpit, rib cage and side.
Initially I was diagnosed with a trapped nerve by a physio therapist. However when I seen my GP this time he wanted to investigate it further so sent me for a chest X-ray.

The chest results have shown abnormalities in my lung, which the radiologist believes is a type of pnuemonia. I’ve been given antibiotics and have to have the X-ray repeated in 4 weeks.

I had a full blood count done which was normal and biochemistry results done which indicated I have low calcium. There was no other indication of infection in my bloods results. Because of this and given the length of time I’ve had these symptoms I’m beginning to worry that it’s something more serious like cancer, which from what I’ve read online would not show up on blood results. I have no symptoms of pnuemonia, other than those mentioned above as well as joint pain in my knees & wheezing when excercising or climbing stairs which I put down to weight gain. I feel generally well despite this and would never have known I had pneumonia.

Sorry for the long post, but considering the length of time I’ve had the pain, the blood results indicating no infection despite abnormalities showing in my lungs, I’m really worried that it’s something more serious like lung cancer.

Does anyone have any advice they could give me. Am I likely to be overthinking this? Is it normal for the radiologist to request another chest X-ray 4 weeks after suspected pneumonia? I know no one can diagnose me. Just looking for some other peoples experiences. Thank you for anyone who takes the time to reply. 

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Welcome here.

Given the length of time of your symptoms and non response for treatment, an x-ray to check on pneumonia is warranted, but an x-ray might not show indications of lung cancer. I suggest you ask your physician for a CT scan. This technology is much better at detecting nodules or small lesions that may be suspicious for lung cancer.

But, be mindful, that even CT detected nodules or lesions are not in themselves a diagnosis for lung cancer. A tissue biopsy is required to confirm a lung cancer diagnosis. Read this and this for more information.

Stay the course.



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Hello and welcome, I agree with Tom's advice to ask for a CT scan. I don't want to alarm you, but there is a type of lung cancer called a pancoast tumor, which causes shoulder and arm pain. It is rare in that most lung cancers don't cause any symptoms in early stages. A CT scan could rule this out.  Best of luck to you and keep us posted. 

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As someone who had numerous chest X-rays over a 3 year period starting in my late 30’s, and was treated for pneumonia 3 times in 3 years based on the X-rays, with no other findings… I couldn’t suggest more strongly that you demand a CT scan based on the information you provided, if only for your piece of mind. Based on your age and risk factors, lung cancer is not considered soon enough. CT is easy to do and provides far more diagnostic information then an X-ray. 

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I strongly concur with the suggestion to ask for a CT. There is a good chance it is nothing, and I don’t want to scare you, but I had very similar symptoms that were dismissed for ages, or mistaken for all sorts of other things. I know it can be difficult to get the NHS kicked into action, but it is worth the fight, if only for your own peace of mind.

Good luck with it, RIKKE

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