Lung-related diseases continue to be a leading cause of global mortality. Timely and precise diagnosis is crucial to save lives, but the availability of testing equipment remains a challenge, often coupled with issues of reliability. Recent research has highlighted the potential of Chest
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Lung-related diseases continue to be a leading cause of global mortality. Timely and precise diagnosis is crucial to save lives, but the availability of testing equipment remains a challenge, often coupled with issues of reliability. Recent research has highlighted the potential of Chest X-ray (CXR) images in identifying various lung diseases, including COVID-19, fibrosis, pneumonia, and more. In this comprehensive study, four publicly accessible datasets have been combined to create a robust dataset comprising 6650 CXR images, categorized into seven distinct disease groups. To effectively distinguish between normal and six different lung-related diseases (namely, bacterial pneumonia, COVID-19, fibrosis, lung opacity, tuberculosis, and viral pneumonia), a Deep Learning (DL) architecture called a Multi-Scale Convolutional Neural Network (MS-CNN) is introduced. The model is adapted to classify multiple numbers of lung disease classes, which is considered to be a persistent challenge in the field. While prior studies have demonstrated high accuracy in binary and limited-class scenarios, the proposed framework maintains this accuracy across a diverse range of lung conditions. The innovative model harnesses the power of combining predictions from multiple feature maps at different resolution scales, significantly enhancing disease classification accuracy. The approach aims to shorten testing duration compared to the state-of-the-art models, offering a potential solution toward expediting medical interventions for patients with lung-related diseases and integrating explainable AI (XAI) for enhancing prediction capability. The results demonstrated an impressive accuracy of 96.05%, with average values for precision, recall, F1-score, and AUC at 0.97, 0.95, 0.95, and 0.94, respectively, for the seven-class classification. The model exhibited exceptional performance across multi-class classifications, achieving accuracy rates of 100%, 99.65%, 99.21%, 98.67%, and 97.47% for two, three, four, five, and six-class scenarios, respectively. The novel approach not only surpasses many pre-existing state-of-the-art (SOTA) methodologies but also sets a new standard for the diagnosis of lung-affected diseases using multi-class CXR data. Furthermore, the integration of XAI techniques such as SHAP and Grad-CAM enhanced the transparency and interpretability of the model’s predictions. The findings hold immense promise for accelerating and improving the accuracy and confidence of diagnostic decisions in the field of lung disease identification.