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Lung Cancer

5mm noncalcified SINGLE pulmonary nodule

04/21/2009

Question:

A recent abdominal/pelvic CT scan ordered to rule out a netril hernia revealed a single 5mm noncalcified nodule on my left lower lobe. A follow up full chest CT two weeks after revealed that as the only nodule seen. I am a male who is 60 yrs old that started smoking late in my teenage years until I quit 20 or 21 years ago. The radiologist recommended a follow up CT in 12 months. My doctor suggested 6 months because he knows I am concerned and because of my smoking history, but not because the CT revelaed anything more specific or suspicous looking. Are there any studies that show what the likelihood is for malignancy in a single noncalcified nodule versus a calcified single nodule? My doctor said that while a calcified one more likely would be benign it did not mean that a single noncalcified one is also not benign. However, is a single nonspiculated that is also noncalcified more likely to be malignant than benign? He said at this point there is nothing to be overly concerned about because we will monitor it and there was only one found, but I am very worried regardless.

Answer:

Even with your smoking history, it is likely that this nodule is benign.  At 5mm, biopsy is usually impossible.  I would agree with a follow up chest CT in 4-6 months. 

I hope this helps.

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Response by:

Sandra L Starnes, MD Sandra L Starnes, MD
Assistant Professor of Surgery
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati