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Brand new dx of .4cm lung nodule in upper right lung post lower left lobectomy seven years ago for a malignant carcinoid tumor. What's next?


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How many times can a lung "nodule" morph into a cancerous carcinoid tumor inside the same set of lungs?  That's what I'd like to know.  I was first dx'd with lung nodules back in 2007 as part of a chest x-ray given as part of a normal physical exam.  In 2015, I coughed up blood during a vacation;  when I came home, a PET scan was immediately ordered and mass was found in the lower left lobe.  When biopsied, it turned out to be a carcinoid tumor.  It was removed in the Spring of 2015 when I was 58 years old.  All other nodules I had from 2007 had remained in that same lobe, so I recall being told, "You're all good now." post surgery.   

Now, in 2022,  I am about to turn 66 at Thanksgiving.  I don't recall when I have had a CT scan of my chest since my lobectomy...but I know it's been at least 4-5 years.  When I finally got my CT scan about two weeks ago, it turns out I have several nodules in both my upper left and upper right lungs.  One of them in the upper right lobe is .4cm right now.  What's next?  Do I presume that next year (8 years post original dx of "nodules" and removal of lower left lobe)...that I am ripe to be dx'd again with a mass that needs to be removed?  I don't want to think like an alarmist...but it is VERY challenging to find information to this level of detail online.  Whatever information you can offer I would greatly appreciate!  I feel like I am sitting on a ticking time bomb here.  Thanks everyone! <3

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 I’m glad you found our forums.  So you now have a nodule of 4mm.  Most lung nodules (60%) are found to be benign and they can form for a wide variety of reasons. Your doctor will likely request a PET Scan to see if any modules “light up”.  If the test is positive or inconclusive they may take a wait and watch approach or look to perform a biopsy.  That would be the “gold standard test” to see if there is a malignancy. I have nodules left since my lifetime of 2019.  They keep track of them but right now they are stable and not a threat.  I hope yours are the same.  

So, I can’t answer your question of how many but I surely hope you’ll get fully checked out and the nodules will be non-malignant.  I’m sure you’ll be hearing from others soon and may get some more insights  


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Lots of us have lung nodules. Here is my go-to resource to explain how and why they form. Lou's suggestion for a PET scan is a good one, but this scan is often unreliable  for small nodules (4 mm or .4 cm, is very small).  So you may need to have monitoring CT scans to see if the nodules change shape or size. It is indeed frustrating, I know. I've been dealing with lung nodules for 18 years and so I completely understand.

Stay the course.


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