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Lung Cancer

Noncalcified nodule

03/10/2009

Question:

I had a ct scan which says I have " nondule 1.5cmm right middle lobe non calcified. I am having a pet scan tomorrow. I am 49. Never smoked in my life but parents did. What are the chances it is malignant?

Answer:

A 1.5cm non-calcified nodule in your right middle lobe can be an infection (specially fungal), scar or a tumor (cancer). Smoking is a significant risk factor of lung cancer and if you never smoked your risk of this being a cancer is relatively low compared to a smoker but not zero. A diagnosis can be diagnosed by a needle biopsy or surgical resection. Sometimes, the nodule is resected first to determine if it is cancer, which is therapeutic and diagnostic at the same time. However, a surgical resection is a major operation and also has its own risks and depending on the location of the nodule, biopsy may be obtained easily bronchoscopically or with CT scan guidance. Another alternative is to wait and repeat a CT scan in 3-6 months to determine if it changes character, shape or size. A tumor will continue to grow whereas an infection may improve and become smaller with treatment. If you have not done so, the best approach at this point would be to see a pulmonologist and review your history and CT scan to determine further course of action. Thank you.

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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