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Ed


EdM

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Hello everyone,  I am 58M recently diagnosed with 3 nodules in my lower left lung.  Sizes 10mm, 12mm, & 13mm in size.  Also have several enlarged lymph nodes. In September i had kidney stone issues that led to the CT scans that showed the lung issue.  In October I had a bronchoscope with biospy done on only the 4 lymph nodes which the Dr said came back as benign. They could not get to the 3 nodules as they are at the base of the lung at the diaphragm area.   Dr said 100% of my right lung looks good and 95% of left lung looks good, only bottom 5% of left lung concern from the CT scan.  In an area that they can not get to easily.  Bloodwork not showing anything from what my family Dr. says.   I have another CT scan with contrast scheduled for mid January.  I am seeing a pulmonologist at this time.  Any suggestions?

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Hi, Ed, and welcome. It's always frustrating to have nodules and not know for sure what they are. The majority of nodules are not cancer, but it's important to figure out which ones might be. 

The negative lymph nodes are a good thing. Typically, when there are nodules that can't be biopsied, they follow it with a CT scan a few months later to see if they have grown--that seems to be your doctor's plan. The other option--one that doctors don't usually do unless they are pretty sure something is suspicious for cancer--is a PET-CT scan, which will "light up" (in most cases) if there is cancer. It's an extremely expensive test, so it's not routinely ordered. 

When I was being screened for lung cancer four years ago, my first scan showed a few nodules. A second scan four months later showed no growth so they told me to come back for another scan in a year. By that time, one of the nodules had grown and had a "spiculated" appearance, suspicious for cancer. A PET-CT showed that nodule lit up and I had surgery to remove that one lobe of my lung.

Hopefully you'll get more info at your next scan.

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Hi  Ed: Let's hope all the tests come back negative. My suggestion is for you to seek an opinion from a cancer center. I am not diminishing  the pneumologist knowledge or ability but I had a bad experience seeing one. I was first told by my pneumologist that I did not have cancer only for him to reverse course 10 days later.  Cancer centers normally have a screening program and they are more knowledgeable in their field. The cancer boards in the cancer centers have specialists from radiologists to surgeons to oncologists so you get the benefit of their experience all at once.  I wish you the best.

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Hi Ed and welcome,

It's upsetting or at least disconcerting to find that something unusual is in your lung! I had a very small nodule in the lower lobe of my right lung. It was found in a CT for something else. I had a follow up CT in 3 months. At that time it had grown some and wes spiculated.  Like  yours, it could not be biopsied by bronchscope or needle. I had a PET scan and nothing lit up. However, the nodule looked "suspcious" due to it's shape and it's growth.Also, I had a history of other cancers, and there was a possibiltiy (though unlikely) that it was a metastasis. So I opted for surgery. I had a lobectomy (lobe removed) by VATS (video assisted thoracic surgery). The nodule was diagnosed as NSCLC (non-small-cell lung cancer) adenocarcinoma stage 1a. I needed no further treatment. I have annual CT screenings for surveillance and so far, so good. My surgeon said that I probably wouldn't notice a difference in my lung capacity unless I was planning to run a marathon, and he was right.

Unlike Gary, I had good experience with my pulmonologist. Pulmonologists differ and so do patients. If you're not confident in your doctor, a second opinion is an option.

Nodules, as LexieCat said, are more often than not benign, but it's important to figure out what they are.  Lung cancer usually has no symptoms until it is advanced.   When found early,  it's usually " by accident" in a scan for something else or in a screening scan for long-term smokers.  People like me are lucky (if anyone with lung cancer can be called lucky) when our tumors are found when they're very small and can be removed surgically. Advanced lung cancer is more challenging to treat, although there are many new treatments available.

So, cross your fingers that your nodules are benign. But if there's no way to tell without surgery, know that VATS and robotic lung surgeries are relatively easy, as surgeries go.

Bridget O

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