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Ground glass opacity (GGO) on lungs, experience?

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Ground glass opacity (GGO) on lungs, experience?

Posted By
4/7/2020 11:16pm
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Replies: 3

Has anyone had these opacities show up on a scan? What was your outcome?

I've got two that showed up on my first scan almost two years ago. My oncologist wasn't worried as these were very small but said we would watch them. It always make me worry when they say to "watch" something. Anyway, they have not changed and are stable. My wife also had some show up prior to her stem cell transplant. The Mayo was somewhat more concerned but after another scan plus some other tests, the proceeded with the transplant. These also remained stable.

"Ground glass appearance" is the term radiologists use to describe the condition of pneumonitis - inflammation and irritation in the lungs - a known side effect of immunotherapy. It comes in varying degrees from affected patients being almost asypmtomatic to having wheeze, cough and shortness of breath. Likewise, if the effect on the patient is minimal no change is really instituted and they carry on with treatment. Those who are more affected may need some treatment - albuterol inhalers and steroid inhalers, pretty much how asthmatics are treated - can be very helpful. If pneumonitis is more significant it can be life threatening and needs to be treated with systemic steroids and immunotherapy may need a "holiday" or have to be stopped completely.

I wheezed and coughed through my entire immunotherapy treatment with "ground glass appearance" frequently used to describe my lungs on CT. I treated it as noted above for asthmatics and luckily it never worsened to the point that I required systemic steroids or a break in therapy. Here are lots of reports if you are interested:

This report includes a link to a PDF that provides an algorithm for treatment of pulmonary side effects:

Hope that helps. Celeste

Thank you, you've provided great helpful info!

Thanks to the previous responder, Steve, too! I'm feeling much better about things.. at least I know what they are!