A significant number of lung nodules are benign tumors that do not pose a threat to your health and wellbeing. According to Cleveland Clinic, only four out of 100 lung nodules are cancerous. So, even though lung nodules can be cancerous, a significant number are not.
However, if your test shows that you have a nodule, no matter how small, it is important to follow up with your doctor. You should worry about lung nodules, especially if you have a family history of cancer or if you are at high risk. Lung cancer claims more lives than any of the other common cancer types in the United States.
Also known as pulmonary nodules, lung nodules are solid masses that form in the lungs, according to Mayo Clinic. On imaging tests, they appear as white shadows. Lung nodules are common, often found in at least 50 percent of adults who get an X-ray or CT scan. Benign lung nodules are caused by factors that include irritants in the air or healed scar tissues. On the other hand, a cancerous nodule may be an indication of lung cancer.
Symptoms of Lung Nodules
People with small nodules do not have any symptoms since they are not big enough to cause breathing problems or pain. However, if the nodule indicates lung cancer, you may cough up blood, experience breathlessness, chest pain, back pain, persistent coughing, and unexplained weight loss.
Getting a Biopsy to Make Sure the Nodule Is Not Cancerous
According to the American Thoracic Society, medical experts do not recommend getting a biopsy on small nodules, or ones less than nine millimeters in diameter. The procedure may not be done safely, due to the nodule’s size.
In most cases, small nodules are not cancerous but may require active surveillance to determine if it grows with time. Your doctor may also order a CT scan to see if it is an early indication of lung cancer. If the nodule does not grow over two years of surveillance, it is unlikely to be malignant.
Per the general rule, doctors typically only perform biopsies on large nodules that are nine millimeters or greater. Large nodules are more likely to be malignant than smaller ones. Ignoring large nodules can potentially lead to severe harm, such as difficulties in breathing, bleeding, and a variety of infections.
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Risk Factors of Lung Cancer
If your lung nodule screening comes back indicating an early sign of lung cancer, consider your family’s history with the disease, as well as any carcinogens you have come in contact with over the years. Generally, the risk factors for lung cancer include:
- Being a smoker: The number of years you have smoked, and the number of cigarettes you smoke per day can increase your risk of lung cancer significantly.
- Family history: You may be at risk of getting lung cancer if a close relative, such as a parent, sibling, or child, has a history with the disease.
- Second-hand smoke: Being exposed to smokers can put you at risk, even if you do not smoke.
- Prolonged exposure to radon: Although the gas occurs naturally, unsafe levels in your home, workplace, and any building you frequent can increase your risk of getting lung cancer.
Smoking with Lung Nodules
The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) cite cigarette smoking as the primary risk factor for lung cancer in Americans. Up to 90% of deaths associated with lung cancer happened in cigarette smokers, although other tobacco smokers are at risk as well. Whether they are benign or cancerous, you should worry about lung nodules and stop smoking immediately.
By quitting, you can help decrease your risk of getting lung cancer and other related health problems, such as chronic bronchitis, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, stroke, and emphysema. If you need help to stop smoking, the CDC has a free online quitting toolkit.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Is at Your Service
If you believe that another party or entity is responsible for your lung nodules, you may benefit from taking legal action. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm will go through your case and let you know if you have grounds to pursue litigation against the liable parties.
To discuss your case with a member of our team for free, call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444.