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Lee Ann

Slow growing lung nodule

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Hello,

Is it possible for a slow growing lung nodule to become cancer after 12 years? A 6mm lung nodule was found in my upper left lung 12 years ago. I get ct scans taken of it occasionally. It is now 1.5cm. It is lobulated, upper left lobe and non calcified. I have 3 other small lung nodules that have stayed the same. My father died of lung cancer at age 60 which I am now. I smoked for 30 years a pack a day. I quit 14 years ago. I also have moderate emphysema. Doctors don’t seem too concerned about it. One pumologist thought I was getting too many ct scans.....wasn’t concerned about the nodule. Just wondered if any of you might share your thoughts on this. Thanks so much

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The majority of lung nodules, 60%, are not cancerous.  It is possible for cells to progress from being very low activity precancerous cells to them becoming more active cancer cells.  How fast did it take it to grow from 6 mm to 1.5 cm?  An increased rate of growth is cause for concern.  Give your family history and your having smoked I would continue to keep a very close eye on it.  It may be nothing, but if it is lung cancer you’ll want to get treatment as early as possible   

 

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Lee Ann,

Welcome here.

Almost anything is possible, especially with lung cancer, but many there are many types non cancerous pulmonary nodules often found in the lungs. Here is a Cleveland Clinic resource I've been consulting for many years. Smoking is indeed a lung cancer risk factor so continued CT scans is a very prudent action.

The scanning interval most often used for this symptom is a scan every six months.  I wouldn't worry about the radiation exposure from these scans.  The dose rate is very low.  Moreover, there are low does CT scans available and you might ask if you are receiving this type of diagnostic.

Stay the course.

Tom

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1 hour ago, Curt said:

The majority of lung nodules, 60%, are not cancerous.  It is possible for cells to progress from being very low activity precancerous cells to them becoming more active cancer cells.  How fast did it take it to grow from 6 mm to 1.5 cm?  An increased rate of growth is cause for concern.  Give your family history and your having smoked I would continue to keep a very close eye on it.  It may be nothing, but if it is lung cancer you’ll want to get treatment as early as possible   

 

Well, it started growing 2 years after discovery..... to 8mm. Then about 2mm every couple of years until reaching 1.5cm. So it started growing 10 years ago becoming 8mm. From what i’ve Read about lung nodules every thing I listed about myself and the nodule leans toward the nodule being a slow growing cancer. Upper lobe,increasing size, parent with lung cancer, emphysema, lobular edge, ex smoker, non calcified nodule and age.  Thanks for your response.

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Diagnosing Lung cancer is a really difficult thing.  I hope that there will be better diagnostic tools in the future.  I watched a nodule for over a year that was found by accident.  It didn’t grow at all but given other factors like the shape, location and family history two doctors recommended surgery.  I went in to surgery not knowing if it was cancer.  I came out with a Stage 1 NSCLC Adenocarcinoma diagnosis.  The doctors said that the nodule left undiscovered could have grown very slowly and undetected for a very long time.  It is good that you are watching it.  Tom’s advice on scans every six months is what I found to be the standard for monitoring suspicious nodules.  Hope that it is nothing, but continue to pursue what it actually is.  

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Humm...I have a 1cm nodule that has been "indolent" for a while.  Its grown 1mm in four months.  Last year I had a lung cancer that was treated so doc is suspicious that this could be cancer.  Research on indolent nodules are mixed as there is concern re: over treatment and quality of life.  Pulmonologists say do surgery, oncologist, wait and see, and lung oncologist said wait uo to three months and treat with radiation either now or then.  I am leaning towards wait and see...for now but will consult with radiation oncologist to gather data.  Was also wondering about proton therapy for it.  Best wishes and continue with scans as others have suggested.

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Danioh,

Wait and see or precision radiation?  I'd choose precision radiation. In fact, I did and it likely saved my life.  One millimeter in 4 months is not a lot but I know it feels gigantic.  I recall those agonizing scan consultation when we'd go over waxing and waning of my tumors.  Then we had the here today, gone tomorrow consultations.  Recurrences just plain suck.  The only improvement in the suck is new treatment modalities that didn't exist when I was in the recurrence swamp.  

From my understanding, the differences between proton therapy and precision radiation are two: proton radiation kills tumors, including cells on the margin, and stops, and it costs about 10X that of precision radiation.  Both fry tumors; CyberKnife or SBRT goes through the body, and proton therapy stops right after the tumor. But precision radiation works; I'm alive to testify!

Stay the course.

Tom

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Hi Lee Ann I had a dormant nodule in my lung that they noticed while doing recurrence scans for another cancer for 4 yrs and then they noticed it had grown a little so biopsy and pet scan later it was confirmed nsclc adenocarcinoma and lobectomy followed with chemo and now immunotherepy...this was first seen October 2016 but I too smoked for 30 yrs but had given up for 17 yrs and I'm 64 now so we have some similarities so it is possible to be cancer in your case so dont ignore it and hopefully can be successfully treated ...I was at stage 3a 

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