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I Have A “Spot On My Lungs.” What Does That Mean?

A spot on the lungs – or a “pulmonary nodule” – is a small mass of tissue that appears on an X-ray or CT scan of the lungs. Pulmonary nodules are never a cause for panic, as they are usually benign or non-cancerous. Typically, if you have a pulmonary nodule, you will undergo further medical evaluation to confirm what the mass represents.

Pulmonary nodules are found on up to half of lung CT scans. Imaging – like the kind done here at “The Lung Docs” – helps to discern the size, shape, and location of the nodule. This helps physicians to determine both the cause and the necessary treatment, if any. Nodules are typically smaller than three centimeters in diameter, or the size of a cherry. “Red Flag” nodule signs concerning for cancer generally are represented by a size greater than three centimeters and/or an irregular or “spiculated” shape.

Benign pulmonary nodules are caused by conditions that trigger inflammation or leave scar tissue on the lungs. These causes include lung infections like pulmonary tuberculosis, granulomas, noninfectious diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, fungal infections from the inhalation of spores, or from recent bacterial infections/pneumonia.

If no irregularities develop with the nodule over an observation period, generally defined as two years of stability, you can feel more comfortable knowing the risk of cancer is very low.

If you wish to learn more or discuss your concerns with an expert – or you simply want to “breathe better” again – call “The Lung Docs” at 423-710-3864 for an appointment. It’s one number, one call, that’s all!