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questions on ct scan
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questions on ct scan

Hello,

I recently had a chest ct scan done because of mild pain in upper right chest for 2 years. It reads:

1. patchy nonspecific areas of pleural based density in posterior hemithorax on each side that I suspect are related to dependent atelectatic changes. Small pleural plaques cannot be excluded.

What is dependent Atelectatic Changes?

2. There is a small 5mm spiculated nodule in right apex that appears to have central lucency. There is other more benign appearing fibronodular scarring in both apices.

I know this is very small, I'm a little concerned about the "Spiculated" description, from what I have read this is more likely cancer. They are suggesting a follow up 6mos to confirm stability. What do you think about this?

I'm a 38yr old woman, nonsmoker.

Thank you very much for your time.


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251132_tn?1198082422
Atelectasis is defined as diminished air in the lung, along with decreased lung volume.  Dependent atelectasis is short-hand for gravity-dependent atelectasis.  It is related to the mechanical properties of the lung.  It is not a sign of a specific problem.  For that matter, when dependent atelectasis occurs on both sides of the lung it is not even an indicator of disease.

Pleural plaques are scars of the pleura, a very thin membrane that covers the lung.  The most common cause of these is asbestosis.  These should be watched, at least for a couple years, at 6 to 12 month intervals.

You are correct about spiculation being one of the characteristics that make a nodule more likely to be cancer, even when the nodule is small, being less than 2 centimeters in diameter.  Yet the likelihood of lung cancer in a non-smoker, your age, is small.  The suggestion that you wait 6 months to repeat the scan is reasonable.  Given your understandable anxiety, however, you might ask if the first repeat scan be done at 3 months.  Although, in truth, 3 months is a short period to expect any change.

If this is a cancer, it has been identified at a very early stage.  The odds of cure, with surgical removal, would be very much in your favor.  It is unlikely that a lesion this size is related to your chronic chest pain.
3 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
i just said a prayer for you that it means NOTHING.  I had a scan on Friday and am waiting for my doctor's telephone call with the test results... i HATE not knowing what is what...
it would be easy to say to you, don't worry (for the next 6 months) but hard for you to actually do!!  Good luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for answering my questions. I will wait the 6mos, I'm sure it will ok.

Irish65 Thank you for your encourgement. I also said a prayer for you. Good luck with everything.
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