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Lung diseases

Growing lung nodules and liver-kidney cysts.

06/22/2007

Question:

My doctor has been watching me with CT scans for a nodule that was 2.1 x 1.3 cm and another that was 6 x 4 mm. They are now 2.7 x 1.6 cm and 7 x 5 mm. They also saw low density are in the right lobe of liver which was more prominent on this scan Also a fullness in the right renal pelvis that has a different appearance than on the prior exam. I had an ultrasound on liver and kidney and now they want a CT scan on them. I am having a PET scan on my lungs. They keep saying they don`t think cancer but I am starting to get a little worried. Could you explain any of this to me?

Answer:

Lung nodules can represent a variety of processes, ranging from unimportant to severe. A number of factors contribute to the level of suspicion that it is something bad, such as cancer. They include appearance on CT, whether there has been growth (and over what period of time), and what risk factors an individual has. Growth is more concerning than a stable nodule. A lung nodule in a smoker is more worrisome than in a non-smoker.

I think that a PET scan makes sense. It may help to assess risk. It DOES NOT prove or disprove cancer. A nodule that has elevated uptake on a PET is more suspicious and might warrant biopsy. A nodule that has no uptake might be less worrisome, but should still be watched closely.

If you have additional questions, you might to seek the advice of a pulmonary specialist, such as a pulmonologist or 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