I had a CT scan to rule out a pulmonary embolism because I've been having heart palpitations after abdominal surgery. The incidental findings of the report stated the following:
"There are numerous lymph nodes in the mediastinum. Some small subcentimeter mediastinal nodes of uncertain etiology"
The radiologist suggested follow-up in three months.
I saw the ARNP at my doc's office today and she told me that this is common. But I am still worried as I did not see the doctor and she did not seem to know what it all meant. I am so worried about lung cancer. I have been a light smoker for 25 years (less than 5 cigarettes per day for most of these years, but heavier for short periods of time when under stress). I am 38 years old. Can someone please tell me what this means?
light smoking is a risk for lung cancer, but subcentimeter mediastinal nodes means that there are lymph nodes smaller than 1 cm in your mediastinum which can be normal, but if you're not satisfied with the ARNP's explanation then you should ask questions until you're satisfied with the answers
The report showed some lymph nodes. Likely they are reacting against something - whether the cause is benign or malignant is difficult to say.
In general lung cancers would show a mass in the lung itself, which would subsequently invade the mediastinal lymph nodes - if only the lymph nodes are showing up, and they are present on both sides- would make one think more of lymphoma rather than lung cancer.
It would be better to consult a doctor and look for any symptoms pertinent to the findings. It is possible that you may have a chronic infection in the lungs, other diseases affecting the immune system may have similar findings as well.
I see no harm in a second opinion.
Bear in mind though, that observation is a valid plan.
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