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Lung Mass Clinical Services

What is a lung nodule?

A lung nodule is an abnormal spot on the lung measuring < 3 cm.

What is a lung mass?

A lung mass is an abnormal spot on the lung measuring 3 cm or larger.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Most commonly lung masses and nodules do not have any signs and symptoms. However with larger lung masses signs and symptoms include:

  • Hemoptysis (coughing up blood)
  • Weight Loss
  • Chronic cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble swallowing

What are the risk factors?

  • Smoking
  • Prior history of cancer
  • Occupational exposure (example Radon, Asbestos)
  • Age
  • History of Tuberculosis

How is it diagnosed?

The best way to diagnosis and monitor a lung nodule or mass is by CT (computed tomography) scan. Piedmont Physicians Georgia Lung has high quality CT scans at both the Austell and Marietta locations and is accredited by the American College of Radiology. Specific software is used to track and measure these nodules. Often times these nodules are watched for several years to make sure they do not increase in size.

On an individual basis, our board certified pulmonologists will decide if a lung nodule or mass requires an invasive procedure called a biopsy. Depending on the sign of the lung nodule/mass, location and risk factor our physicians will study the CT scans to determine the best course of action for each individual patient. Often time’s patients will require a bronchoscopy. A bronchoscopy is an outpatient procedures performed under “twilight” anesthesia, where a flexible lighted catheter attached to a camera is introduced into the airway. This catheter allows the physician to take biopsies of the lung. A variation of this procedure is called EBUS (endobronchial ultrasound), where a special tool used to visualize and biopsy certain areas such as lymph nodes via ultrasound.

What are the causes?

  • Inflammation/Infection (granuloma is a small inflammatory lesion)
  • Infection from bacterial or fungal source
  • Lung Cancer
  • Benign (non- cancerous lesion)
  • Metastatic disease (spreading of cancer to the lungs)

What are the benefits of Diagnosis and Treatment?

Once a lung nodule or lung mass has been identified on CT scan, it can be monitored very closely and each patient’s case is discussed on an individual basis with their Piedmont physician. If the nodule or mass is diagnosed as cancer, the sooner it can be diagnosed the sooner treatment can be started. Studies have shown early diagnosis of lung cancer has better survival rates.