Question :

Does small nodules seen on chest CT mean lung cancer?

Dear Ask The Doctor:
I just had a CT scan done of my lung and the report had said ." Findings" The scan is abnormal. There are Multiple widely distributed bilateral small 2-3 mm nodules right lung. Centered most prominentyly in the anterior portion of the right upper lobe with a few probably in the right lower lob as well associated with mild interstital prominence. On the lfet there are sever small 2-3 mm nodules in the upper prortion of the lower lobe. Does this mean cancer. I have several microndules.


Answer :

Dear Patient: 
 
Most lung nodules are benign (noncancerous) however there are also nodules that could be an early form of lung cancer or a metastatic foci (cancer somewhere else that has spread to lungs). Common causes of benign nodules are scars from previous infection, benign blood vessel malformations, etc. In your case, you should discuss this with your doctor because there are parameters of lung nodules that should be considered. Malignant (cancer) nodules will most likely have irregular borders, ill-defined contours, lobulated, usually >3cm, etc. Benign nodules will usually have well-defined borders, smooth contours, concentric, <3cm etc. The doubling time (time it takes for a nodule to double in volume) is also a big factor to determine if the nodule is cancerous or not. Personally, I think it will be too early to know for sure if the nodules you have are cancerous or not. I think you should also ask your doctor if repeat CT scans in 3-6 months time is being considered; it is likely this will be your doctor’s next move so the appearance of the nodules can be compared, if it has changed, increased in size, etc. Right now, I would say the nodules you have are unlikely cancerous in nature but further monitoring is warranted. I do hope I have answered your question and I wish you well always.


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