What are Lung Nodules?

Lung nodules (sometime referred to as pulmonary nodules) are usually non-cancerous (benign) growths on your lung. According to University of Rochester Medical Center, lung nodules are relatively common (for every 500 chest x-rays, 1 will usually have a lung nodule).


According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, 90 per cent or more of all pulmonary nodules are discovered incidentally on a chest x-ray or CT scan which was performed for other reasons. There are often no symptoms, or symptoms may be similar to a mild flu or chest cold.

Nodule Facts

Nodules are three centimetres in diameter or smaller. Anything larger is considered to be a mass. Small, non-cancerous nodules may not require treatment; however, if the nodule changes size or is new, your doctor will likely order additional testing.


CT (computerised tomography) scans, PET (positron emission tomography) scans and tissue biopsies may be used to determine if the pulmonary nodule is cancerous or benign.


According to Medline Plus, less than half of all nodules are cancerous; however, if the nodule is malignant, it is crucial that the nodule is properly diagnosed as soon as possible. Cancerous nodules often grow quickly.


Benign pulmonary nodules are usually wounds that have healed either from a fungal infection or tuberculosis. Other causes may include hematoma, lung cysts and vascular irregularities.

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About the Author

Caryn Anderson combines extensive behind-the-scenes writing experience with her passion for all things food, fashion, garden and travel. Bitten by the travel bug at the age of 15 after a trip to Europe, Anderson fostered her love of style and fashion while living in New York City and earning her degree at New York University.