A Lung Nodule is a mass of tissue located in the lungs. This is also termed as “pulmonary nodule” which mostly is benign or non cancerous, for larger masses however, this can be a sign of cancer and is subject for various analysis.
The growth of benign nodules can be caused by various reasons. Tuberculosis is one; this condition often leads to infection and form lung nodules. An infection called Histoplasmosis which is caused by the inhalation of fungus found in certain bat or bird poop may take on the lungs and cause nodules to form. Blood vessel abnormalities may also be a cause for lung nodule formation.
How are these nodules detected?
Lung Nodules are detected through a chest X-ray or through a Computerized Tomography (CT) scan. On the scan, nodules appear as white, circular shadows which are usually about 1/5 to 1 inch or 5 mm to 25 mm in size. A larger nodule which is usually 25mm or larger may be benign as compared to smaller ones.
How to know if it’s benign or malignant?
The doctor will have to compare your previous chest X-ray to a newer X-ray and see if there are any changes in size, shape or appearance of the nodule , if there is none, it’s probably benign or non cancerous. However, this still needs to be monitored periodically to look into possible changes.
If a lung nodule has changed on the other hand, this may be a sign of cancer and is subject for further testing such as CT scan, positron emission tomography (PET) and scan or tissue biopsy.
Lung Nodule Treatment
If the Lung Nodule is caused by an infection or any other condition, they will just subside soon which means it doesn’t necessarily call for any treatment. Regular X-rays and CT scans may be recommended by doctors just to ensure that these nodules do not remain.
However, if a lung nodule is found out to be malignant or cancerous, a surgical treatment to remove it ma y be done. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are also other options to consider.