Fewer than 5% of all nodules turn out to be cancer.

Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer is more likely to develop in patients who:

  • are above the age of 40

  • have a large or growing lung nodule

  • smoked or still smoke cigarettes

  • have a family history of lung cancer, or have been exposed to cancer-causing chemicals such as asbestos.

What if it's cancer?

If your nodule turns out to be lung cancer, the cancer is more than likely in its early stage. People  early-stage lung cancer who receive treatment are less likely to die than people who are diagnosed at a later withstage, when the cancer has already begun causing symptoms.


What causes lung nodules?

The causes of benign lung tumors and nodules are poorly understood. But in general, they often result from problems like these: Inflammation from infections • An infectious fungus such as histoplasmosis, coccidioidomycosis, cryptococcosis, or aspergillosis • Tuberculosis (TB) • A lung abscess • Round pneumonia (rare in adults) Inflammation from noninfectious causes • Rheumatoid arthritis • Wegener granulomatosis • Sarcoidosis • Scarring or inflammation

How common are lung nodules?

A lung nodule shows up on about one in every 500 chest X-rays. Most lung nodules are smaller than 10mm (the size of a cherry)

How is lung cancer treated?

If you are diagnosed with lung cancer, your health care team may recommend additional CT scans to monitor the growth of the nodule. • If the nodule is not cancerous, it usually does not grow • If the nodule does not grow, or it gets smaller, that is usually a good sign • If there is no growth over a 2 year period, it is very unlikely that the nodule is cancer • If the nodule does grow, it should be examined more closely to determine if it is lung cancer Your physician may use imaging or a biopsy to determine the extent of the nodule. Even if your nodule is cancerous or growing, there is a good chance that surgery or radiation will cure you.

Should I be concerned about a lung nodule?

About 90% of lung nodules are not cancerous. However, in some cases a nodule may turn out to be early stage cancer. To determine if your lung nodule is cancerous, your physician may: • Monitor changes with CT scans. A nodule that grows over time is a sign that it could be cancer. • Take a sample of the nodule with a needle or surgery