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Biopsy Negative But Nodules Grew Slightly

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My mom has had multiple lung nodules that they've been watching for a few years now that have been slowly growing.  She has had PET scans and two biopsies - the first one came back inconclusive because they couldn't get a good sample size.  The second one came back negative for cancer - they didn't say she didn't have cancer, just that cancer was not found.

She just went in for another scan last week and the results were that the nodules had grown slightly.  She's seeing the doctor today to find out next steps, but I am freaking out.  I can't find any outcome online for growing nodules that is not cancer and since she has multiple nodules I'm worried about it not even being a primary cancer. Has anyone had nodules that grew over years that didn't turn out to be cancer?  Can't they understand anything more through the biopsy?

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Your question about nodules that grew over the years that are not or did not turn out to be cancer is best answered by this Cleveland Clinic explanation.  After my oncology practice started providing me with actual radiology reports, I almost passed out!  There were nodules in my lung and liver and I thought I was surfing the "no evidence of disease" or NED wave.  My doctor, after administering smelling salts, explained that most of us have nodules and all of these had been reported on previous scans.  And yes, they were sometimes larger and smaller but they were not metastatic -- not cancer.

I even had a missed biopsy.  I assume your mother had a needle biopsy and if the nodule is small, they can miss or the material in the nodule turns out to not be cancer.  And, some of these nodules do start to grow and sometimes they become cancer.  That is why I still have oncology appointments after 10 years of NED.

So I'm not sure I've brought you any comfort.  The good thing is she is being attended by oncologists and has a radiology history.  Metastatic nodules exhibit rapid growth so if she is being seen every six months, they ought to catch the start of metastatic disease as an early diagnosis.

Stay the course.


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Hi, Katekat,

Just wanted to check in and see how you and your mom are doing. Please post an update when you can. We are thinking about you!

Digital Community Manager
LUNGevity Foundation

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