Bronchiectasis and shadow on lung - British Lung Foun...

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Bronchiectasis and shadow on lung

stillmovin profile image

Hi there. I am so worried. I have bronchiectasis and have had a couple of instances in past years when I’ve coughed up blood which has turned out to be a bad chest infection. This happened recently but I started my emergency antibiotics and feel much better. However, the X-ray I had recently showed a right lung shadow and now I have to go for an urgent CT scan next week. As you can imagine, this has really panicked me. With bronchiectasis I know I could be in a higher risk group for lung cancer and I’ve had plenty of chest X-rays before but none have ever shown a shadow, just my bronchiectasis. Obviously no one can predict the results here, but I am just so worried about this. I am almost 61.


37 Replies

I am so sorry that you have this additional worry. People cope differently with such things. I am a worst case scenario type: look at the worst that can happen, explore it, then, if I am wrong it is bonus. Others prefer to distract themselves. The one thing you should do is not to feel guilty about worrying. You are a human being and given the ups and downs of life it is what we do.All the best and tell us how things go.

Kate xx

stillmovin profile image
stillmovin in reply to Katinka46

Thanks for your sensible words. I am an artist and that keeps my mind calm! I think the early hours of the morning are the weak spots though, when you just think of all the awful possibilities. It’s nice to hear advice and calming words here so thank you again .x

I can understand your worry. I hate the term shadow on lung. It is not a diagnosis and due to drama's on television as developed a sinister reputation. In reality it is an abnormality on x-ray where a area cannot be seen clearly. It could be related to your condition, it could be related to position on x-ray, nothing at all or perhaps something more serious. I have been told twice I have one and on further investigation it was found to related to my condition and the second time nothing could be found in the area of the "shadow".

stillmovin profile image
stillmovin in reply to Badbessie

Thanks for that xI agree that the word shadow has become such a scary word next to lung hasn’t it! X

Hi. It is hard not to worry when you receive news like this. But, as others have said, there can be many reasons for a shadow to show up on an X-ray. Try not to worry too much. John

stillmovin profile image
stillmovin in reply to johnderby

Thank you John. It does help reading all the sensible responses here x

I completely understand how you feel as I could’ve written very similar to you. I was diagnosed with bronchiectasis last year and had ct scans to monitor it at the beginning. My ct scan in Dec 2020 showed a nodule on bottom of my right lung so they wanted a repeat scan doing 6 months later. I had the ct scan in June and was given an urgent appointment with my respiratory consultant. Apparently the nodule had increased significantly in size and they wanted to a bronchoscopy within 2 weeks to find out what was going on. I had that done about 6 weeks ago now and still haven’t heard anything back. I’m working on the assumption of I haven’t heard anything then they can’t be worried. I know they’ve got the results as I phoned and asked if they’ve got them yet. They had but couldn’t say anything as the consultant still had to review them.

It’s so scary when we hear them use words like shadow and nodule but these often turn out to be less sinister things then we first expect. At first I was really worried but as time has gone on I’ve somehow managed to put it out of mind. Working has been a helpful distraction. There’s no point saying don’t worry as this doesn’t help as it’s very normal to worry in these circumstances.

Hope everything goes well with your scan x

stillmovin profile image
stillmovin in reply to disney75

Thanks for replying to me and I do hope you get your own results clarified soon. That is frustrating isn’t it? It’s all a waiting game nowadays with these things. Thank you for sending me all that and it is helpful to know I am not alone. They should stop using that word shadow! X

Hello Try not to worry ( easier said than done )

Exactly the same thing happened to me. earlier this year.

I had a routine CT scan that picked up a shadow on my lung . My consultant was brilliant and arranged a pet scan within 2 days ( The speed of that made me even more nervous ) cutting a long story short It turned out to be an infection . My consultant was on the ball and phoned me as soon as she had the results .

I hope you have such a positive outcome

Take care


stillmovin profile image
stillmovin in reply to Brikel

So glad it was an infection Brian . And thanks for replying. It all helps x

Hello stillmovin. I'm sorry that you are so scared. I don't know who read your xray but in bronchiectasis it needs an expert consultant to interpret it. GPs and even some radiologists are often not used to seeing bronch . As others have said, 'shadow' is a perjorative term for anything unusual on an xray. I have had bronch for 68 years and my xrays are covered in 'shadows'. That is the nature of the lung damage of the condition..I hope that the ct scan puts your mind at rest and shows the bronch as it is. Please make sure that a bronch consultant interprets the scan. They are the only people experienced and qualified to do so. General respuratory consultants and GPs often misinterpret. If you do not have a specialist bronch consultant PLEASE look for one at a teaching hospital near to you. Take the name to your GP and insist on a referral. The care under these specialists is so different to respiratory clinics, general resp cons and poor GPs who are way out of their depth with this complex condition

Bleeding during an exacerbation is also a feature of bronch for many and I have had it in varying degrees. The correct antibiotic for the right length of time should settle the exacerbation.

I hope that it is all sorted out soon for you.

By the way, in all of my lifetime and learning about bronch from my expert consultants I have only ever been told that people with bronch are at no more risk of developing lung cancer than the rest of the population. Unless of course, they smoked or were extremely unlucky.

stillmovin profile image
stillmovin in reply to Littlepom

Thank you for that sensible advice. I have always had previous CT scans under my consultant at Royal Brompton in London but this is the first time referred by GP so I will definitely contact the bronchiectasis specialist too. Xx

Littlepom profile image
Littlepom in reply to stillmovin

Yes, a good idea. Do let us know how you get on.xx

It is a worry, but it is good news you are having a CT scan, Try to keep an open mind about results, time will come when the hospital will communicate these, I hope they will be results of least concern.

Doctors always want to know if you cough up blood as they want to be sure it's not caused by some thing more serious as you have shadow on the lung as well.

I have previously lived with a shadow on the lung for several months when I had a lung infection that was not responding to treatment, once the infection finally cleared so did the shadow.

I have coughed up blood previously too.

Doctors are always concerned for their patient's when these situations occur, and it is of course a worry, but I just wanted to let you know that it's not always the worst case scenario.

So I am sending you thoughts of courage and open thinking for your c.t. Scan results.

Luv n hugs


stillmovin profile image
stillmovin in reply to Bkin

That’s very kind of you to send your thoughts and thanks very much indeed. Xx

Fingers crossed for you stillmovin and it is nothing more than an infection, you are bound to be worried , we all are when things like this come up x

stillmovin profile image
stillmovin in reply to Izb1

Indeed! Thanks for your comforting words. It is a dark time having to wait and wonder. X

It is of course worrying being told this, but try to stay positive ; hope CT scan shows nothing serious. In meantime I'm sending hugs and all best wishes for a good outcome x

stillmovin profile image
stillmovin in reply to Dedalus

Many many thanks for that. Let’s hope for the best x

Scary though it feels for you, please don’t get ahead of yourself (easier said tha done). I have had ‘shadows detected in the past and they have always turned out to be remnants of infection). Please don’t be alarmed at the speed of the forthcoming scan - your doctor has a duty of care and checking this is as much to do with reassurance it is to do with your bronchiectasis as anything else. Also you state you have just recovered from a nasty infection.

Hope all goes well for you.

Thanks 🙏🏻 that’s sensible and it’s right that I be checked out quickly x Thanks for your kind thoughts and words x

I understand your concerns. It’s worrying when you don’t know what’s going on. After you’ve had your scan I would grill your consultant because you need to know what it is. I’ve got a pulmonary nodule and interstitial lungs which I haven’t had explained to me so I’m champing at the bit to know. I’ve also got to go for a heart scan which I don’t know why. That will be my second one as I had one a couple of years ago. It’s so annoying as apart from being in hospital for a couple of days a few weeks ago I’ve seen nobody. I didn’t find out about these things until I was reading my discharge sheet after I came home. I’ve rang my Consultants Secretary but didn’t get a reply. There’s a big part of me wants to know and a little bit that doesn’t if you know what I mean.

I lost my Husband to Pulmonary Fibrosis seven years ago so I know quite a bit about fibrosis as I looked it all up as it’s better to be forewarned as to know nothing.

I hope you get somewhere when they’ve done you CT. Hopefully it’s just an infection which they can clear up with medication. And hopefully I’m worrying about mine for nothing much.

Good luck!!

stillmovin profile image
stillmovin in reply to Mavary

Sorry that you’ve still not got your answers and I know how frustrating it is not to be able to get hold of hospital staff and secretaries too. Let’s hope things work out for both of us x

Yes I understand your concerns. I was told I had a shadow /mass on my lung and had possible cancer written on my hospital notes. As others have said the shadow can cover a multitude of things. Mine was bronchiectasis as shown by the CT scan. Try not to over worry. Keep busy. 🤗🤗 Anita x

Thanks Anita. It is a long wait. I will do my best to not worry x

Hope all goes well for you xx

stillmovin profile image
stillmovin in reply to House1

Thank you x

I had massive shadow in my lung near my heart. Big panic (it was truly awful).CT showed big infection and diagnosed the bronchiectasis. Bronchiectasis plays horrid tricks when it is x-rayed, nevertheless you are in an awful position. I can’t even suggest you try not to worry!

Thank you. I hope it is infection. I can only hope and wish it was over as I’ve had enough of it hanging over my head x

Hi there still moving sorry to hear about your worrying. You’re being sent for an urgent scan - this will give you time on your side if they need to treat anything. Let hope it rules out the dreaded cancer.

Thank you x

Hello please try and not worry I know they say its easy to say. I found out last August that I have bronchiectasis after my doctors throught I had asthma for over 30 years but was getting coughs and chest infections. Had ct scan and showed up I have mild bronchiectasis but they said I had something showing up with my lungs and need one more ct scan and when I do get the results back said it cleared up maybe from having infections for so many years. But since finding out last year I must of had over 20 chest infection and getting me down been on antibiotics for over a month and still not cleaning up and I am getting worried as I thing could be worse. Xrays do not show up as much as having a ct scan. All the best and let us know how you getting on. Xx

stillmovin profile image
stillmovin in reply to Babyboy12

Thank you and sorry you’ve been having so much trouble with infections over a long time. CT scans have always just showed up bronchiectasis in my history but I am particularly concerned about this shadow as none of my previous X-rays or CT scans have had any shadows, only the bronchiectasis signs. Good luck with all your treatment x

Babyboy12 profile image
Babyboy12 in reply to stillmovin

All the best with yours thinking of you but please do not worry until you get your results. I know its hard but you will only make yourself more ill. And thank you for your message means a lot xx

Hello stillmovin,

I'm sorry you have to hear this terminology, it is probably not the best worst to use.

Having had Bronch for over 20 years now, I have shadows all over my lungs.

I have also had infections where I'm coughing up blood, a pneumothorax, hundreds of infection since I was teenager etc

What I'm trying to say is try not to worry unless you have to. If there is anything you can do to distract yourself waiting for results try and enjoy doing them and don't waste too much time thinking about it.

It sounds to me like you are under very good care with Brompton, they never leave any stone unturned so you are in good hands.

Let us know how you get on, keep in touch and I wish you well 💐 X

Thanks for your support BionicLady. I just have never heard any doctor refer to a shadow when dealing with my lung X-rays and scans. It is always just Bronchiectasis and that’s that. This seems to be a different term. Unfortunately the X-ray and scan were referred by my gp and a local hospital and Royal Brompton Hospital don’t seem to be involved with this one. I will inform them tomorrow. RBH have only been letting me have video appointments since lockdown so I have not been getting the usual monitoring from them for the past 18 months. Sorry about your experience with bronchiectasis. I was diagnosed in 2010 by chance. It showed up on a scan for my abdomen/reflux problems. I do hope this is an infection but you can’t help worrying about it. Am keeping busy.

All the best and thank you again. X

Thanks to everyone for all your support and comforting words. I’ve just had confirmation of CT scan results from my GP and there are no lesions and it’s not cancer, praise God. However, the bad news is that the Bronchiectasis has spread to both upper lobes which I will discuss with the consultant from Royal Brompton Hospital this afternoon on a pre arranged telephone appointment .So, good news and bad news.

I just wanted to let you all know what my results were and yo thank everyone for coming back to me.

Blessings to you all.


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