Retrocardiac mass: lung cancer

Case contributed by Dr Ian Bickle


Smoker of 30 pack years. Weight loss and chronic cough.

Patient Data

Age: 70 years
Gender: Male

2 cm left retrocardiac nodule. The background lungs are hyperinflated in keeping with COPD. Small right sided pleural effusion.

Case Discussion

A "must not miss film" whether in an exam or real life. This is lung cancer until proven otherwise. In the exam:

  1. Describe findings.
  2. State, "I am concerned this may represent a malignancy and warrants further investigation."
  3. State, "Necessity to refer urgently to a respiratory physcian with a view to CT and bronchoscopy."

This is the reason the retrocardiac space is one of the review areas for all chest x-ray interpretations.

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Case information

rID: 46210
Published: 29th Jun 2016
Last edited: 27th Apr 2020
System: Chest, Oncology
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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