The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
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Shadow on lung


I am writing in regards to my dad. He has been having a persistent cough for the past year and a half. It gets better with antibiotics and worse with cold . He has had fluid drained from his lungs after which he got better but seems like the cough is back again. He has had multiple CT scans. Yesterday, we went to a respirologist and the dr said that since he had smoked about 13 years ago and has not crossed the 14-year mark, he is at risk of cancer. He said that there is shadowing of his left lung. His sputum is clear to white and he has chest pain when he breathes really hard. I am so freaked out ever since the doc expressed the possibility of cancer. His bronchoscopy appointment is not until 3 weeks. Is there anything else it could be? I am really worried .

9 Replies

Try not to worry (easier said than done), until you have the facts. All I can say is that if there is a shadow there they have spotted it and will treat it accordingly. You do not say how old your dad is or if you know the size of the shadow. Try and find out as much as you can and keep me up to date as I would be interested to know how he gets on.

Best wishes


Hello thank you for the reply ... He is only 53 years old:( so shadow means what?


I was thinking could this be a work related thing, meaning was your dad a miner,steelworker,spraypainter anything to do with the chemical industry. There are a lot of things related to those types of work,does your father have COPD? Sometimes long term smokers get this later in life my wife had it for a good number of years unfortunatly she took lung cancer about 18months back and passed away o n the 7th April this year she fought bravely to the end. There is always these things I have spoke about but try not to worry so much till the facts are put in front of you it would be difficult to guess but take comfort that there are people hear ready to listen and perhaps be of help or comfort, as they say you are not alone. Alex


Oh I am very sorry to hear about your wife . My dad works in a smoke - free environment . He just had a history of smoking about 12 years ago. I am trying not to worry but can't imagine anything bad for him.... Especially cancer :( I am petrified !!! I am hoping they tell him that it is just bronchitis . Does shadow mean cancer?



There are many reasons why a shadow may be present on your dad's lung. Infection, health and exposure to smoke can affect how the lungs are seen on an X-ray or CT scan. Whilst you are waiting for test results and an appointment thinking about what might be happening can be extremely worrying. More information is available on our website or by calling our helpline.

Best wishes at this unsettling time


on behalf of the Information & Support team


My x-ray showed shadows on the lungs which the doctor thought may be sarcoiditis. It wasn't that but mat be a non specific intestinal lung disease. I did work in the building industry and have exposure to asbestos, sawdust etc. My lung cancer tumour was only picked up by the CT scan, so I would have thought the CT scans your dad has had would be a more decisive diagnosis. So try not to worry too much and give your dad some positive vibes until his bronchoscopy, which should help.

Keep us posted.

All the best



I'm slightly older than your dad and had smoked. My shadow turned out to be lung cancer and I had the surgery and chemo and touch wood am now fine. But I would like to say that I had what they called a glich on my x-ray. Something unexplainable showing on the other lung, so of course I was worried. It had grown slightly in size in a year, but it turned out to be a radiologist? interpreting the results incorrectly. Nothing to worry about. It hadn't actually changed size at all and it is still there but I guess it could be like a spot or like something on the skin but inside, so I'm calling it a glitch.

We are all here for you.

Hedgehoggy x


Thank you everyone for the support. I am hoping to the max that it is not cancer. My sister's wedding is in 3 months and my family won't be able to handle it . My dad had multiple CTs and two respirologists looking after him when he was admitted in February due to fluids in his lung but neither of them suspected anything . I am surprised . They even sampled his fluids and no cancer cells in there. I am really hoping it is just pneumonia :( hedgehoggy, if you don't mind me asking what were your symptoms like and for how long ?


Hello. I have the same problem with my dad. What happend with your? Hope that was not a cancer.

Please write me.



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