Q. Are streaky opacities in chest X-ray associated with malignancy?

Answered by
Dr. Vivek Chail
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Sep 25, 2019

Hello doctor,

There are streaky opacities seen on my chest X-ray. I would like to know more about the meaning of these findings. Are streaky opacities associated with malignancy? My key symptom is shortness of breath. I have no coughing, no fever, no sputum, and no hemoptysis. Also, I am an ex-smoker and have just quit smoking for two months (my smoking history: around 20 years, around 20 cigarettes per day).

Dr. Vivek Chail

Radiodiagnosis Radiology


Welcome to icliniq.com.

I have read through your query in detail. Please find my observations below.

Streaky opacities scattered in both lung fields means that there might be small straight lung shadows along the air passages on your X-ray on both the sides. These prominent airways in the lungs are seen in both lungs and might be due to some sort of inflammation in the airways or possibly due to changes as a result of any lung infection which you had months to years back. This is not indicative of malignancy but with a history of smoking for 20 years and recent onset breathlessness, it requires detailed evaluation.

However, you need to get lung function tests (spirometry) done to know if your lung breathing volume and capacity are within normal limits. Spirometry will also show any reduced breathing capacity that you might have developed due to smoking for 20 years. Your symptoms of shortness of breath might be either due to reduced breathing capacity and exchange of gases in the lungs or due to a heart-related problem. In conclusion, I recommend that you get the lung function tests and an echocardiography is done to confirm that the functioning of lung and heart are within normal range. You can take medicines as given by your doctor and get the X-ray chest repeated after 15 days. If the streaky opacities persist then doing a CT scan chest might be required to study the air passages in detail.

Was this answer helpful?


Also Read Answers From:

Comprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Related Questions & Answers

What is the problem for having chronic allergy with frequent cough and cold?

Query: Hi doctor, I am suffering from a chronic allergy. I have a frequent cough and cold. I am using Montelukast sodium and Levocetirizine. It prevents the symptoms. But when I stop taking it, the cough gets increased.  Read Full »

How to treat breathlessness in a metastatic breast cancer patient?

Query: Hi doctor, The patient is oxygen dependent because of pleurodesis since 1 month. She is suffering from breathlessness after talc pleurodesis. She has metastatic breast cancer with distant spread to the lung and liver. There is residual pleural effusion along with bilateral lower lobe consolidation. ...  Read Full »

Do my X-rays show the beginnings of asthma or COPD?

Query: Hi doctor, I was diagnosed with bronchitis yesterday in the emergency room. Felt very weak and difficulty breathing and could not wait for my doctor appointment in two weeks. I have an unproductive cough for a month and a half and burning in my chest. Today very breathless when talking. Do these X-...  Read Full »



Ask your health query to a doctor online?

Ask a Radiologist Now

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.
Enter Your Health Query
You can upload files and images in the next step.



Disclaimer: All health Q&As published on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek the advice from your physician or other qualified health-care providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website.