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Saturday, May 18, 2013
CT results-should I see a Pulmonologist?
CT= "no pulmonary nodules or masses. Dependent minimal atelectasis or fibrosis. Np pleural effusions or pneumothorax." SP Breast CA (Dx 2000). Age 73 Isn`t pulmonary fibrosis progressive & without cure? My oncologist does not seem at all concerned. Thanks.
There are many conditions that can cause dependent atelectasis and fibrosis. Just having signs of fibrosis on a chest CT scan does not necessarily mean that a person has the disease "idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis" that you are referring to.
In relation to breast cancer, some chemotherapy medications can cause mild fibrosis, and radiation to the chest can also cause fibrosis. In older persons, previous pneumonia is also a possibility. Also, it can be difficult to distinguish atelectasis (areas of partially collapsed lung) from fibrosis (scarring of the lung). Many times, doing a high resolution chest CT scan with prone (laying on the stomach) and supine (laying on the back) can distinguish these two conditions.
Many times, a pulmonologist is in the best position to determine the cause of fibrosis, and you may want to consider obtaining consultation from a pulmonologist.
James N Allen, Jr, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University