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Thursday, February 11, 2016
My mom recnetly went to the doctors to get a CT scan on her lungs and they found a lump on her lung. She has been smoking all her life and she is a chronic drinker. What does that mean and what should be done?
Spots in the lung are common. When one is detected, a number is question arise that help determine how concerned we should be: is it new? What are its characteristics on the scan? Is the patient at risk for cancer due to a smoking history? If there are concerns, then a repeat scan is obtained or a biopsy is attempted. The biopsy approach depends on the size and location of the mass. Options include needle biopsy with CT scan guidance, bronchoscopy, or surgery. If surgery is considered, a minimally-invasive approach, such as VATS, is appropriate. My primary suggestion is that she should see a lung cancer specialist, either an oncologist, a pulmonologist, or a thoracic surgeon familiar with minimally-invasive thoracic surgery.
Michael F Reed, MD
Assistant Professor of Surgery
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati