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Lung diseases

Nodular density mass in lung

06/04/2007

Question:

My doctor found a nodular density mass that measures 17mmx7mm in my lower right lung. I have had two scans within 6 months and there has been no change. I am supposed to have another scan in 3 months to make sure that there is still no change.

My question is what are the possible causes of this mass and how long should I continue to have these scans if there is no change? When I asked my doctor he said it is nothing to worry about but would not ellaborate.

Answer:

A lung mass can represent a variety of processes, from insignificant to severe. The list of causes is long. The level of suspicion for a severe problem, particularly lung cancer, depends on a number of factors including, personal risk (smoking, family history, age), characteristics of the mass on CT scan, and growth. Common non-malignant causes include a granuloma (type of scar) from prior histoplasmosis infection, scar from a prior pneumonia, and hamartoma (a benign congenital nodule).

If it is stable, there is less to worry about. However, if you are concerned, an option would be to seek a second opinion from a pulmonary specialist, such as a pulmonologist or a thoracic surgeon.

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Response by:

Michael F Reed, MD Michael F Reed, MD
Assistant Professor of Surgery
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati