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Lung nodules


Bruce

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Hi everyone, 

I am currently 45 years old. I have never smoked and have never been diagnosed with  cancer. A year and a half ago, they found a 4 mm nodule on my right mid lung. It was an incidental finding during a heart calcium scan. I was told to wait a year and then get a CT scan. The 12 month scan showed the nodule to be 6.5 mm and another 2 mm nodule was also found nearby. The pulmonologist told me that the nodule may not have grown at all due to the fact that the CT for the heart did not provide the best view. He also said that the 2 mm nodule was out of view in the original scan so it might have been there all along.

I was told to return for another follow up scan in 6 months. My scan is this coming Monday.

When I search for info on lung nodules I find a lot of information about lung cancer, but very little about cancer that has matastisized to the lung. I have no symptoms other than a cough with post nasal drip that appears to be from laringitis which resulted from a bout with the flu in early January.

My question is, what percentage of lung nodules that are discovered incidentally with no symptoms end up being cancer that has spread from another region of the body? Any possible info will be greatly appreciated. 

 

 

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Hi Bill,

I don't know about stats, but I had one of those lung nodules that were discovered incidentally. I was having a routine CT scan for surveillance for metastases for an a different (non-lung ) cancer and one popped up. Three months later it was still there. The doctors thought that if it was cancer, it looked more like  primary lung cancer than a metastasis. The appearances are differentBecause of i t's location, they couldn't biopsy it by needle or by bronchoscope, so I had a lobectomy and it turned out to be stage 1A adenocarcinoma. I've learned that lung cancer doesn't usually have symptoms until it is advanced- stage 3or 4.

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17 hours ago, Bruce said:

Hi everyone, 

I am currently 45 years old. I have never smoked and have never been diagnosed with  cancer. A year and a half ago, they found a 4 mm nodule on my right mid lung. It was an incidental finding during a heart calcium scan. I was told to wait a year and then get a CT scan. The 12 month scan showed the nodule to be 6.5 mm and another 2 mm nodule was also found nearby. The pulmonologist told me that the nodule may not have grown at all due to the fact that the CT for the heart did not provide the best view. He also said that the 2 mm nodule was out of view in the original scan so it might have been there all along.

I was told to return for another follow up scan in 6 months. My scan is this coming Monday.

When I search for info on lung nodules I find a lot of information about lung cancer, but very little about cancer that has matastisized to the lung. I have no symptoms other than a cough with post nasal drip that appears to be from laringitis which resulted from a bout with the flu in early January.

My question is, what percentage of lung nodules that are discovered incidentally with no symptoms end up being cancer that has spread from another region of the body? Any possible info will be greatly appreciated. 

 

 

Hi Bruce I had a 1.4cm lesion discovered during a routine lung cancer screening my dr encouraged me to have done since I quit smoking 4 yrs ago.  Less than a wk later I had consult at cancer center after a petscan showed no other cancer I had robotic assisted lung cancer surgery on 2/13/18 lymph nodes removed were clear as was tissue removed around cancerous area removed. This all happened in less than 3 wks from the time they found the cancer on the lung ct. I recommend you get a second opinion and find out why they are not doing more than watching your nodules. 

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Hi, Bruce,

I don't think I'd assume that your nodules represent a metastasis, if you've never been diagnosed with any other cancer.  I don't know about stats, either, but I've never heard of anyone having a cancer elsewhere discovered only AFTER a metastasis to the lung.  Maybe it happens, but as I said, I haven't heard of it so I'm assuming it's not that common.  

Even though lung cancer occurs with greater frequency among smokers/former smokers, you certainly don't have to smoke to get it all on its own.  There are several people here who have never smoked but still got lung cancer.  

I don't think the monitoring of your nodules is that unusual--unless they are very large it's often the first step.  But six months seems like a long time between scans--when I went for my first screening and my nodules were observed, they had me come back for another scan in three months.  When there was no change, I was told to come back in a year.  At that time, one of the nodules had grown a bit and changed appearance (spiculated), and was suspicious enough that surgery was ordered.  

Your nodules have been very small, and hopefully your scan on Monday will be reassuring.  There are many reasons for nodules, and most of them are not cancer.  I've had a couple of "mystery" nodules that have appeared and disappeared since I've been getting my scans.

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Hi Bruce,

Other cancers DO metastisize to the lung. My lung cancer was discovered in a routine surveillance CT that I was having to check for possible metastisis from an advanced cervical cancer. I was actually relieved to find I "only" had an early lung cancer. A met from my earlier cancer would have had a much worse prognosis . Also, ovarian cancer metastisis to the lung is pretty common. In  fact, that cancer is often not diagnosed until there are breathing problems caused by lung mets. I'm not as well informed about lung mets from other cancers (including those cancers for which men have "equal opportunity"), but I'd be surprised if there weren't some that go to lung. And while I'm on the topic of gynecologic cancers, let me add some info, off the lung cancer topic, that may be useful for women. Prior to having gyn cancer I was not very well informed. I might have been able to intercept my cervical cancer at an earlier stage if I had been.

First, ANY bleeding after menopause should prompt immediate evaluation as it could be a symptom of cervical or endometrial cancer. This is true even if a woman had had regular negative Pap smears.

Second, ovarian cancer usually has no symptoms or only vague and non-specific ones until it is very advanced and harder  to treat. In this it is like lung cancer. Because of this, it's important for women to take seriously the vague and non-specific symptoms  that may signal ovarian cancer, These include:

  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Trouble eating or feeling full quickly
  • Feeling the need to urinate urgently or often
  • Fatigue
  • Upset stomach or heartburn
  • Back pain
  • Pain during sex
  • Constipation or menstrual change

If any of these last more than 2 weeks they should be evaluated by a doctor. And, if the doctor doesn't take them seriously or diagnoses something else such as a gastrointestinal problem, and that doesn't resolve quickly with treatent, insist on more testing. See ovarian.org  (the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition) for more info.

Bruce, I apolgize for hijacking your thread with info that doesn't apply to you personally. I'm active in the gynecologic cancer community and I am passionate about getting the word out to women, since it may save lives. So tell your wife or girlfriend or mother, sister, any women you know well enough to talk about this stuff.

Bridget O

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Bruce,

I'm a stat guy and lung cancer survivor but I've not encountered anything on a statistically significant percentage of cancer discovered in the lung that metastasized from somewhere else.  I know it does occur.

But, let me acquaint you with some Cleveland Clinic information on lung nodules that may ease your mind.  I also suggest that both nodules you report are very small.  A 4 mm nodule is about the side of the word "is" (with quotation marks) at this font size.  

Let us know the results of your CT scan.

Welcome here.

Stay the course.

Tom

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