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Lung diseases

Scar on lung

06/27/2008

Question:

A close friend went to their doctor and has some tests done. He was told he has a scar on one lung and an infection. He is taking an inhaler three times a day. He is 86 and has a hard time breathing when he walks up stairs, but is also taking medication. What does it mean to have a scar on one lung? He was never operated on all his life. He also told me it was not cancer. I didn`t want to ask what does it means. Thank you for your help.

Answer:

A scar on the lung can mean several things. If is localized to one place (like it sounds like in this case), it usually is a sign of old infection (previous pneumonia, etc.) More diffuse scarring can be the result of toxic exposures or primary scarring diseases of the lung (like asbestos or diseases like idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis). This seems less likely in your friend's case. Depending on what this looks like, a cancer could present like this, but usually excluded by following the lesion over time.

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Response by:

James   Knepler, MD James Knepler, MD
Formerly, Assistant Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati