A pulmonary nodule is a small, round growth of tissue in the lung. Pulmonary nodules can range in size from less than 1/5 inch (4 mm) to a little bigger than an inch (25 mm). Most pulmonary nodules are detected when imaging tests of the lung are being performed for a different problem. Pulmonary nodules are usually not cancerous (benign). However, some pulmonary nodules are cancerous (malignant). Follow-up treatment or testing is based on the size of the pulmonary nodule and your risk of getting lung cancer.
What are the causes?
This condition may be caused by:
Bacterial, fungal, or viral infections. This is usually an old infection that is no longer active, but it can sometimes be a current, active infection.
A benign mass of tissue.
Inflammation from conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Abnormal blood vessels in the lungs.
Malignant pulmonary nodules can result from lung cancer or from cancers that spread to the lung from other places in the body.
What are the signs or symptoms? …show more content…
To help determine whether a pulmonary nodule is benign or malignant, your health care provider:
Will take your medical history.
Will order some tests, including:
A skin test called a tuberculin test. This test is used to determine if you have been exposed to the germ that causes tuberculosis.
Chest X-rays. If possible, a new X-ray may be compared with X-rays you have had in the past.
CT scan. This test shows smaller pulmonary nodules more clearly than an X-ray.
Positron emission tomography (PET) scan. In this test, a safe amount of a radioactive substance is injected into the bloodstream. Then the scan takes a picture of the pulmonary nodule. The radioactive substance is eliminated from your body in your urine.
Biopsy. A tiny piece of the pulmonary nodule is removed so it can be checked under a microscope.
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