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Thursday, December 8, 2016
1cm and 1.2cm noncalcified lung nodule
I recently had an abdominal-pelvic CT with contrast and an incidental finding of 1.2cm and 1cm noncalcified right lung base nodules showed up. I am a non-smoker ,but have been exposed to secondary smoke for years earlier in life. We are going to get a spiral CT. Should I be overly concerned?
A nodule in the lung could represent infection, scar or a tumor. Risk of these being cancer depends on age, smoking history, previous cancer history, etc. If there was a previous CT/chest X-ray more than 2 years ago and the nodules were present then the risk of these being cancer is low. In the midwest USA, most of us have a benign fungal infection called histoplasmosis, which may appear as non-calcified nodule. In that case you don't need to worry. An infection may appear as multiple nodules as well. A chest CT would be helpful to figure out if there are more nodules and their sizes. The CT will also be helpful to find out if there are any swollen glands in your chest. You should see a pulmonologist after the CT. Your pulmonologist, depending on your risk factors, will decide whether you should have follow up CT scans every 3-6 months or if you should go for a biopsy. Serial CT scans are indicated to find out whether they change size, shape or character over time. Cancer usually will grow in size whereas a scar or nodule from histoplasmosis will remain unchanged. Thanks.
Shaheen Islam, MD, MPH
Clinical Associate Professor
Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University