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Really Scared--Bilateral Pleural Effusions


I am coming on year 3 since my diagnosis, and I have been feeling pressure and discomfort (primarily at night) on the ribs under my breast--yes, cancer side. It has been a few weeks. I had an X-Ray done and it showed bilateral pleural effusions. Of course, I googled it and now I am freaked out.

Is this a clear sign that the cancer has spread?


  • nopink2019
    nopink2019 Member Posts: 384
    edited April 2023
    • X-rays show how full your lungs are, apparently both have fluid surrounding them. You may need to have one or both drained and the fluid tested. Alternately you might be scheduled for a CT with contrast. Regardless the doctor who gave you this news should have scheduled or referred you. If this was not done, call your MO tomorrow.
  • startnew12212
    startnew12212 Member Posts: 45
    edited April 2023

    Thank you for your reply.

    CT has been scheduled for a week from today, but it's without contrast.....

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 1,011
    edited April 2023

    HRCT is done without contrast. The high resolution gives a more detailed image of the lungs which helps in the diagnosis. Cancer is just one possible cause of pleural effusion. I hope things work out well.

  • recoveringbelle
    recoveringbelle Member Posts: 23

    startnew12212 Did you ever find any resolution for your finding? I've got a new primary on Right breast (after extensive Left sided DCIS tx w/ mastectomy 17 years ago)—well, actually two primaries: ILC, ER+PR+Her- and both 1 cm (Stage 1) right now. However, x-ray shows pleural effusion or thickening and CT-abdominal shows bibabilar atelectasis & mild pleural effusion, so MO wants me to do a chest CT w/ and w/o contrast. I've dealt w/ shortness of breath for years—probably related to severe EDS or lots of childhood asthma related to severe second-hand smoke. I've got pressure/some pain on right rib that comes and goes, but haven't been sick—no bronchial asthma, infection, even during COVID—for five years. I suspect this is more related to heart issues than malignancy, or maybe scarring from earlier infections. It's just weird. I came here since reading all of the medical assessments leads to underlying processes—and I'm kinda pissed because I kept telling my cardiologist about feeling breathless a lot and she dismissed me as usual because I "look" so healthy.

    Anyway, I hope this was just scarring and not a malignancy for you—hope you see this. Thanks for your initial post. God bless.