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Thread: Lung cancer pathway UK question

  1. #1
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    Lung cancer pathway UK question

    Hi

    Anxiety is up once more, my mum has a shadow on the lung and will be referred to the chest specialist team.

    I'm confused about two things and wondering if anyone has any more experience on this.

    1) It took 3 weeks for her chest x-ray result to come back, she was told it would take 2, so when she didn't hear she thought it must be clear. Then her GP called
    and asked to see her. I thought we had a 'pathway' in the UK whereby x-rays were reviewed quickly and results given within 24 hours if they look suspicious? And if so could it be that mum's shadow doesn't look really urgent, but still needs investigation.

    Not looking for false reassurance, just clarity really.

    2) The other thing was when I asked the doctor if she thought it was worth us organising a private CT scan in the next day or two, she said a CT scan might not
    be needed. I'm confused by this because a CT is the only test that I know of that would follow a chest x-ray with a shadow.

    Anyone with experience of this? I'm not expecting people to say everything's ok, because we don't know until further tests, but just concerned at the amount of time that's passed. Also wondering if that means she was put in the less urgent pile.

    I have been told it could be part of the horrible lung infection she's had, which we all had and lasted weeks. Just confused about the protocol and that 3 weeks went by before she was called. Thanks for any thoughts.

  2. #2
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    Re: Lung cancer pathway UK question

    Hi Rosanna, I live in the US, so I don't can't help you with UK's protocol. I am wondering, though, if the doctor wants to just take another chest X-ray to make sure things have cleared up? If they have cleared up, a ct scan wouldn't be necessary.

    If everyone is sick, I bet the shadow is just the infection.

    Good luck to you!!

  3. #3
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    Re: Lung cancer pathway UK question

    Hi Cptdebbie, thanks, I think the usual thing here is to do a CT scan with a suspicious chest x-ray, but maybe the chest specialist will do another x-ray first. I'd have thought that could be ordered by the doctor, but I don't know if that's protocol at this stage. Maybe that's what the doctor meant. So confusing.

    Thanks for your thoughts :-)

  4. #4
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    Re: Lung cancer pathway UK question

    It does sound like she was put in the less urgent pile. Anything worrying gets back within days from x-ray as it does with things like blood tests. That's a reassuring sign.

    Whilst hearing there is a shadow on her lung is still worrying there are other possibilities. If your GP thought it could be cancer they would be fast tracking her into an appointment for further tests.

    What has the GP mentioned as a possible cause of this? Since she has had a lung infection then that is a very obvious culprit and a follow up x-ray now would hopefullky show the shadow gone. But don't think it must be cancer. I had a shadow on my lung the size of a 50p piece many years ago after weeks of feeling a bit off and coughing more than normal (and I have asthma) which came to head one night when I woke very unwell. That turned out to be pneumonia.

    That may alsdo sound scary but it is very easily treatable and since she has had a lung infection already it is likely it has been this. But I'm mentioning this as another example of why a shadow on the lung isn't to be assumed as possible cancer.

    Your GP has probably assessed the fact there is a lung infection, a shadow and the symptoms of the lung infection itself. Lung cancer symptoms don't show in the early stages so it would be a coincidence to find them both together. And why did the GP even order the chest x-ray if not to check on the lungs for the infection?

    If the GP wants a CT scan they can easily get her to a specialist via the fast track.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Lung cancer pathway UK question

    My brother had the same after a chest xray, scared the worst out of us as our father died of lung cancer.

    It turned out to be from a lung infection and it took a long time to go away completely.

  6. #6
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    Re: Lung cancer pathway UK question

    Quote Originally Posted by MyNameIsTerry View Post
    Lung cancer symptoms don't show in the early stages so it would be a coincidence to find them both together. And why did the GP even order the chest x-ray if not to check on the lungs for the infection?

    If the GP wants a CT scan they can easily get her to a specialist via the fast track.
    That's an interesting point about the symptoms. The x-ray was ordered as she'd had a cough for longer than 6 weeks, but actually she had 2 separate flu's so it wasn't just
    one cough. She is on the suspected lung cancer pathway but told it may not be that.

    She's just got her appointment through to see the specialist in 3 week's time.

  7. #7
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    Re: Lung cancer pathway UK question

    Quote Originally Posted by NancyW View Post
    My brother had the same after a chest xray, scared the worst out of us as our father died of lung cancer.

    It turned out to be from a lung infection and it took a long time to go away completely.
    Sorry to hear about your father, Nancy.

    Thanks for letting me know this, it's helpful to think there may be other possibilities.

  8. #8
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    Re: Lung cancer pathway UK question

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosanna View Post
    That's an interesting point about the symptoms. The x-ray was ordered as she'd had a cough for longer than 6 weeks, but actually she had 2 separate flu's so it wasn't just
    one cough. She is on the suspected lung cancer pathway but told it may not be that.

    She's just got her appointment through to see the specialist in 3 week's time.
    3 weeks must seem like an age but maybe it's a good sign re urgency? I appreciate how worried you must be and nothing can reassure you until she gets seen by a specialist and given a definitive benign diagnosis. As the others say, there are other explanations for her symptoms and having 2 different bouts of flu surely must have a bearing.

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