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Lung Cancer

Upper Left Lobe Non-Calcified Spot

05/12/2010

Question:

I am 41 non smoker male. I had surgery 2 months ago for infection in right under arm lymph node. During this I had a cat scan that showed several calcified spots in left lung and a non calcified in upper lobe. Just wondering if something to be concerned about? It was recommended to get re checked in 6 months. Occupation firefighter.

Answer:

Thank you for your question. A calcified lung nodule most likely is not malignant. The fact that you are a non-smoker puts you at a lower risk as well. You mentioned that there is also a non-calcified node in the right upper lobe as well. This may be benign such as infection or scar. As a firefighter you are likely to be exposed to toxic fumes and it is possible the nodule could be non-infectious. However, we cannot rule out the possibility of this being malignant either.

Depending on the size and the location of the nodule in your lung, your physician may want to get a biopsy. If the nodule is less than 1cm in size, it is usually not amenable to biopsy. In these cases we like to repeat a CT scan in 3-6 months to determine if it is increasing in size. Usually the cancer lesions will grow and once it is big enough we can biopsy it to definitively prove its nature. If it is infection, it may even disappear on the follow up CT. A fungal infection or scar will remain unchanged.

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Response by:

Shaheen  Islam, MD, MPH Shaheen Islam, MD, MPH
Clinical Associate Professor
Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
Hematology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University