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What does a lung nodule indicate?

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Practicing since : 2004
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This question is actually for my mother. She is 59 years old and was a smoker for over 35 years. It has been a long time since she smoked. Overall she is in good health. She does have type 1 diabetes, but that is under control. She had her gallbladder out two weeks ago and a few days later went back into the hospital complaining her gallbladder area was hurting and she felt like stone were still there. I believe these are phantom pains and all in her head. While they were running tests that found a quarter size spot on her left lower lung. Her gastro doctor was concerned and a pulmonoligist look at a scan and was very concerned. I am not sure why. He became even more concerned learning that colon cancer runs in our family. She had a colonoscopy approx. 2 years ago and it went well. One small polyp was found, but they removed it. On saturday she is getting a CAT scan. I am so scared. I am only 27, just got married and I do not want to lose my mom, but I have to be realistic about what this could possibly be. My uncle is a pharmacist and has been able to help me out a lot. I also am a licensed master social worker for hospice so I see this kind of stuff all the time, but it is different when it is your mother. All I know about the spot is that it is approx. the size of a quarter. I do not know the shape or anything. I know there can be no dx over the computer with the little bit of info I have given, but please be blunt and give me your honest opinion. I would really appreciate it.
Posted Tue, 25 Feb 2014 in Lung Cancer
Answered by Dr. Indranil Ghosh 8 hours later
Brief Answer: Please refer below Detailed Answer: Hi Thanks for your query. I understand your concern. But as you said yourself, no definite opinion can be given on the basis of this info, that too without the images of Xray scan. However, a 'quarter' sized nodule, which is probably around 2.5 cm, in the lungs in an ex-smoker is suspicious of lung cancer. However, other benign diagnoses are also possible. We need to look at the CAT scan and then decide about the need for a biopsy. Colon cancer with spread to the lung will be lower down on the list as the last colonoscopy was normal and she does not have any symptoms pertaining to colon cancer. Hope I have answered your query. I will be available to answer further followup queries, if any.
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