In January I had an ablation done for a-fib. Prior to the procedure I had a heart CT done. When I was being released from the hospital the doctor told me "Oh by the way, when the CT scan was done it showed a 2mm nodule in the lower part of the right lung". I was stunned, When the doctor saw how upset I became, he made a comment on how he should have never said anything to me and that it was nothing to worry about. Even thou I am not a smoker I have been around heavy second hand smoke for most of my entire life. My older sister (who smoked for years) was diagnoised with lung cancer last March and I have an aunt who was diagnoised last October. When I talked to my Primary care doctor he said the same thing, that it was nothing to worry about, and in year have another CT done to see if anything has changed.
Is this the right thing to do? Ever since January, I think about this nodule daily. I am terrified that it is cancer. Should I just wait and see, or should I get it checked out further (I was thinking of going to Univ of Penn, they have a lung nodule program there). Isn't it better to find out now what it is instead of waiting a year?
I welcome any advice, I just don't know what to do.
With technology improving, the frequency of finding things out of the ordinary has also increased, and such findings have been called “incident-alomas”. About 150,000 such cases are diagnosed every year in the US. About 60% of these are not cancer.
Solitary nodules in the lung are evaluated in terms of size, appearance (regularity, smoothness of borders, calcification), your age and smoking status. For a size of 2 mm, then this is likely benign (80%), more so if you are not smoking. Then the usual practice is to monitor for changes.
If suppose removal is explored, then chances are you would be exposing yourself to the dangers of the procedure, but the risk of finding cancer is pretty low.
It is understandable to feel some anxiety over all this, especially since you are being asked to live with uncertainty. But then everything, even your a-fib ablation, is performed based on a balance of risks and benefits, without any guarantees. But the choice of management that is recommended would be based on the most likely outcomes.
Going to a center with a large load of cases is a good idea. At the most, they would be able to measure the nodule and quantify your risk more accurately, but I don't think that they would advise removal of the nodule just yet.
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