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No diagnosis yet ... waiting for tests


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Hi, I'm here because I've been diagnosed with a 12mm lung nodule in my lower right lung (CT scan). My gastroenterologist ordered the scan because I have chronic hepatitis B and I've been feeling discomfort in the area where my liver is.

My liver seems to be fine, but the CT picked up the nodule, which was described as "indeterminate," and having "spiculated margins." The recommendation was to do a full chest CT for other nodules. The CT doctor indicated that the nodule would likely not be visible on an x-ray because it's so low, and he was right.

I saw a pulmonary specialist today and he wants to wait 2 weeks for the chest CT to see if there's any change in the nodule (he said if it's smaller or disappears then there's nothing to worry about). If it's still there, he said he'll order a PET scan, and if it indicates cancer, he'll have a biopsy performed.

My nonsmoking aunt died last year from lung cancer at 74. They caught it very early on a scan, had her liver resected, no chemo. 2 years later, the cancer was back in her lungs and had also spread to her brain. She died 8 months later.

I'm 39 and a nonsmoker all my life. I know that "spiculated margins" is cause for suspicion, so I'm worried. It's so very hard to wait.

I want to be strong and stay positive, but it's nervewracking. I keep thinking "what if ..." and wondering what will happen. I've already had a series of tests for my liver, but now I'm in new and unfamiliar territory.

Thanks for letting me vent ...


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Hi and welcome Carole,

I'm sorry you are having a difficult time right now, I know how stressful waiting for test results can be.

Try to distract yourself as best as possible. Movies, books, etc. I know how easy it is to slip into the obsessive spiral of speculation... it's horrible.

I have very little experience with lung cancer, however, from what you are describing as "12-mm" spots, from my understanding, are considered VERY small. There are hundreds of NON cancerous things that they could be.

I am hoping and praying for you to have favorable results,

Keep your chin up. You are young with a whole lot of living to do yet :)

Warmest regards,


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Hello Carole and welcome.

As Rod has pointed out, this nodule may very well be nothing at all to worry about. I realize that it is nearly impossible to be in your situation, waiting and wondering and worrying. Especially after what your aunt went through.

Keep us posted. Check out the other forums on here, especially the good news and LC survivors threads. There are so many people here who have been exactly where you are right now and we do understand the stress of waiting.

Feel free to post, and post often if it helps. We will be here to support you throughout this wait.

Sending prayers and lots of positive thoughts to you,


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Hi Carole,

There have been many posts about nodules here. If you scroll all the way UP you will see the word 'SEARCH' above all the forum listings. If you click there and put in the word 'nodule or nodules' where it asks for key words and select all posts, you will have all the posts involving nodules come up. My own husband has them and we've been watching for over a year now with no change.

We understand the waiting and the nerves working overtime. Take a deep breath and do that search. I think you will be feeling better.


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When my lung cancer was found 5 years ago, another small nodule was also evident, and it shows up every now and then. My cancer was just 1 cm, and caught very early.

I will be going for a CT/PET scan in October to check on the lingering nodule. Apparently it is a new machine and is very good at diagnosing these small nodules that may not otherwise be seen.

In the meantime, try to keep busy. We live with the "Don't borrow trouble" theme here. Today you are fine!!


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I hope the results are good, and I can't really tell you how to be relaxed. Like others have said many people have nodules that do not seem a major cause for concern. I would request the pet scan now and see if insurance will cover it.

Good luck.


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Thank you, everyone, for the support and words of encouragement.

You are a group of very special people--your warmth and caring for each other is so comforting and I'm grateful for the warm welcome from all of you.

I know that I'm truly blessed with a wonderful life and I treasure each day.

Somehow it helps me to know more and find out as much as I can. My gut tells me I should be prepared.

Thank you for letting me hang out here ... It really helps a lot.


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Welcome Carole.

I know that waiting is very difficult. I remember others telling me to try and be patient, but you really find that almost impossible. One thing that helps is to here positive news. When I was diagnosed with lung cancer in my right lung, a nodule also showed up in my left lung. My surgeon had a biopsy done on that nodule and it turned out to be scar tissue. Just wanted to let you know that just because a nodule is there it does not have to be cancer.

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Hi Carol, I'm not sure what your doc is waiting for. I'm sure if it were a member of their family with a spot on lung, they would order up a PET and pronto.

First, it is inhumane waiting, second, lc does happen to women non-smokers your age, third, you have family history and fourth, exactly how much growth is doc expecting to see in a few weeks? As a women non-smoker, it could very well be BAC and BAC lc is so slow growing a few weeks will show no difference.

Maybe talk to your family doctor, ask for a different pulmonary referral and extra xanax? :)


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Thank you so much for all the replies and advice.

I know this information puts things in an even more ominous light--I've kind of been in denial that the two could be related to each other, but I saw an hemotology oncologist yesterday who's been tracking a few slightly enlarged lymph nodes in my neck/groin/armpit areas for the past 18 months. My chest x-ray from 18 months ago showed no enlarged nodes in my chest (& my lung nodule is too low to be seen on an x-ray, so this x-ray provides no information for my pulmonologist). Initially my primary care doctor ordered many tests to rule out a number of infections/viruses that could be the cause of the lymph node enlargement, and when it got to the point where I saw the oncologist, he felt the nodes were in the "high range" of what he'd consider "normal," so we'd do watch & wait to see if they got bigger. I changed oncologists after moving and the new one concurred with the previous diagnosis and said even if it was an indolent form of lymphoma, they wouldn't treat it until I started manifesting symptoms.

After reviewing the reports on my lung nodule, the oncologist is ordering an extension of the CT scan to include my neck and also referred me to a surgeon to biopsy one of the nodes in my neck (this will happen after the CT scan scheduled in 2 weeks). He said the PET scan would also give him info on my nodes (he talks about it like there's no question the PET scan's going to happen), but no matter what the outcome with the lung nodule or other tests, he wants the node in my neck biopsied.

As for the 2-week waiting period ... the pulmonologist said he wants to wait 2 weeks to see if maybe the nodule will get smaller or disappear. He assured us that if it is malignant, waiting 2 weeks wouldn't make any difference. He seems to be a very cautious doctor--I'm not sure if that's a good thing, or not? He's IS rather insensitive. When I expressed anxiety over waiting 2 weeks for the next scan, he said, "well, you wouldn't want us to operate and find out it's benign, would you?"

Of course I expect them to be sure before they operate, I'm not asking him to exclude steps, I was just expressing frustration that they can't happen faster so I can figure out what I'm facing. Sheesh!! I guess it won't hurt to get another referral, although I have resigned myself to the 2-week wait.

I seem to have moved into a new phase from outright fear of the unknown to a "be prepared" acceptance that I can handle whatever comes my way. I am still hopeful and praying that every next step will lead to those words I so want to hear, "don't worry, everything's fine!!"

It's really helped to read all the posts of such strong and supportive people who have been through so much with such grace. You have all touched my heart and are in my prayers.


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Carole: doing the testing and waiting thing is no doubt the hardest part of this whole deal. What I do, and it seems to help, is assume that I am cancer free until the tests show otherwise. I have had three cancers now. I am confident that I am cancer free again and will have a scan in 2 weeks to verify it. I also take lexapro.

Don M

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