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Lung Cancer

Lung nodule

01/26/2009

Question:

I recently had n EBCT test to determine calcium/plaque deposits in the arteries. Although the results were a score of zero, there was another finding that has me curious and a little concerned. The scan showed a "3 mm noncalcified, somewhat ill-defined nodule in the right middle lobe of the right lung." Recommendation on the report was a follow-up noncontrast chest CT in 3-4 months. I am a non-smoker, but grew up in a home where both parents smoked. Should I be concerned about this at all? Is 3-4 months too long to wait to see if this is anything significant? Thanks for your response.

Answer:

A non-calcified nodule in the lung may represent old infection, scar or even an early tumor. If you are a non-smoker but had passive exposure to tobacco, you are at a slightly higher risk for tumor. However, a 3mm nodule is very small and at this stage it will be hard to locate for biopsy to get a diagnosis. It is standard for us to wait in these scenarios to see if the nodule increases in size, shape or character. And so, 3-6 month follow up is a routine practice. It may even disappear in the follow up CT scan. Waiting 3-6 months in your case is not worrisome and is the current standard of practice. Depending on the findings at that time your physician may decide to follow up for 2 years if it remains unchanged or shows some change. Thanks.

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Response by:

Shaheen  Islam, MD, MPH Shaheen Islam, MD, MPH
Clinical Associate Professor
Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
Hematology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University