Find a Doctor Employees Newsroom Upcoming Events

Lung Nodule Clinic Print Friendly and PDF

Through the coordination of a multidisciplinary team of physicians, radiologists, pulmonologists, surgeons and an imaging patient navigator, the lung nodule clinic offers timely evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of lung nodules.

What is a Lung Nodule

A lung (or pulmonary) nodule is a small round- or oval-shaped growth in the lung that may be detected on an x-ray or CT scan. If the growth is three centimeters or less in diameter, it is called a nodule. If it is larger, it is called a mass. Benign nodules have little growth or change. Malignant nodules are known to grow more quickly.

While most lung nodules are benign (non-cancerous), early detection, appropriate evaluation, diagnosis and treatment are critical. For benign nodules, your doctor will likely recommend a schedule of routine monitoring with periodic imaging based upon your risk factors.

Symptoms and Causes

Lung nodules present few, if any, symptoms in a patient. More than 90 percent of lung nodules are discovered incidentally on X-ray or CT scans while patients are being evaluated for other medical conditions.

Possible causes of benign tumors:

Diagnosis and Treatment

Once a lung nodule is identified, it is important to determine if it is benign or cancerous. This may be done by evaluating the growth rate of the nodule through a series of scheduled CT scans over a designated period of time.

Other ways of determining if a nodule is benign or cancerous are by imaging with a PET/CT scan and/ or a biopsy of the nodule.

Benign nodules require no further treatment and will be monitored for changes. Malignant nodules are usually removed surgically—or, if the patient is not a surgical candidate, the malignant nodule can be treated non-surgically with radiation therapy.

Lung Nodule Clinic FAQs

Does being referred to the lung nodule clinic mean I have cancer?

No. Many nodules found on scans are not cancer. However, early detection, additional evaluation and continued surveillance are vital.

Do all nodules require surgery?

No. Depending on the size and appearance of the nodule, many can be monitored or treated nonsurgically.

What if the nodule is malignant? Can it be treated?

Yes. The three traditional treatments for lung cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Your multidisciplinary team will work together to ensure that you receive the latest, most appropriate and effective treatment for your type and stage of cancer.

Imaging Patient Navigator

Through the use of a Surveillance System, an Imaging Patient Navigator will work with you and your physician to help coordinate and maintain a follow-up schedule appropriate to your needs and requirements.

Call Riverside's Imaging Patient Navigator at (815) 928-6052 with questions or concerns.