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About Breast Cancer>Testing > Chest X-rays

Chest x-rays

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A chest x-ray, also called a chest radiograph, is a test in which a machine takes a picture of your lungs, heart, airways, blood vessels and bones of the chest and upper back. This picture helps your doctors assess the health of this area of your body. It can be used to look for the cause of shortness of breath, or to check for pneumonia.

The test can also be used to check if cancer has spread to the lungs. In metastatic breast cancer, a chest x-ray can be used to monitor whether a treatment is working, or whether there is a complication from chemotherapy.

Getting the test

During a chest x-ray, you will be exposed to a very small amount of radiation. You will not have to prepare for the test, but you may need to remove some clothes, your jewelry and other metal objects.

You will stand against an x-ray machine, or you will lie on a table with an x-ray machine above you. The test itself only takes a few minutes, but you will need to stay in the testing center until the technician makes sure that the pictures are clear.

 

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Reviewed and updated: August 31, 2015

Reviewed by: Marion Brody MD

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