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Smoker. X-ray report showed small density in lung. Chances of having cancer?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1994
Answered : 9086 Questions
My doctor says I have small density on my lower left lung and compared it to my xray from 2 years ago and it has not changed. She said its nothing major, but suggested I get a scan to rule out cancer. Yes, I smoked for 20 years - but if the xrays haven't changed in 2 years, then do you think it might be cancer. What's other reasons density could show up on an xray.
Posted Thu, 7 Mar 2013 in Lung and Chest disorders
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 1 hour later
Thanks for posting your query.
A solitary small density spot on a chest X-ray — generally referred to as a lung nodule — sometimes can be an early cancer, so it's important to talk to your doctor and go for a scan even if it has not changed in last two years.

Lung nodules are common and typically noncancerous (benign). Among the most common causes of noncancerous lung nodules are scars or marks from a prior fungal infection, such as histoplasmosis or coccidiodomycosis, a bacterial infection, a mycobacterial infection such as tuberculosis, or a benign tumor called a hamartoma. These are also common among smokers.
Generally, the smaller the nodule the less likely it may be cancerous (malignant). Nodules that measure less than 5 millimeters (mm) — or about 1/5 of an inch — are extremely likely to be benign. Those measuring more than 20 mm, which is about 3/4 of an inch, have a greater than 50 percent likelihood of being cancerous.
I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
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