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Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Should I see a doctor if I have a lung nodule
Recently I found myself in the emergency room for acute Cholecystitis and gall stones. During the diagnostic tests a nodule was detected on my lung. This was brought to my attention in a very casual manner as if it was nothing to be concerned about and the doctor did not elaborate. Should I be concerned and should I see a doctor? I am a 50 year old female who has never smoked (although my husband does), and even though I am overweight by 80 lbs. I have no health issues.
A nodule in the lung may be benign and thus may not be worrisome. The probability of malignancy depends on the size, shape and character of the nodule; your smoking history (in your case it is absent, however you may have passive exposure from your husband); your age; history of any previous cancer, etc. Sometimes this may be just a scar tissue from an old infection. Also, if a nodule is calcified, the possibility of this being cancer is pretty slim. In your case, it is possible that the above characteristics pointed to a benign condition and so no one was concerned. My recommendation would be to followup with your primary care physician regarding the findings and ask specifically if it needs to be reviewed by a lung specialist with a chest CT scan.
Shaheen Islam, MD, MPH
Clinical Associate Professor
Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University