Lung Nodules

About 1 in 4 people will have a lung nodule found on their CT scan which needs surveillance. This means we want to repeat your scan in a few months to see if the nodule has grown. This page has some information about lung nodules that need surveillance. If you have any questions about your scan results, please phone our team on 0113 392 6688 and we can arrange for a doctor or nurse to give you a call back.

What is a lung nodule?
A lung nodule is a small lump of tissue found in the lung. Nodules are usually around the size of a pea (less than 1cm or half an inch across) and they do not usually cause any symptoms. A person may have several nodules and this wouldn’t necessarily be any more serious than just having one.

Why do I have a lung nodule?
Lung nodules are very common and are found on CT scans in about 1 in 4 people. Most lung nodules are benign (non-cancerous). They are often caused by scarring from previous lung infections. In a very small number of patients (1 out of 100), a lung nodule may be an early sign of lung cancer

So what happens next?
We will keep your nodule under close observation with repeat CT scans of your chest (commonly 3 and 12 months after your first scan). This is to check to see if the nodule is growing.

If your nodule stays the same size over several months, or shrinks, then we can be reasonably sure that it is benign (non-cancerous) and nothing further needs to be done.

If your nodule gets bigger, you may need further tests to see if it is an early lung cancer. This might include a different type of scan (called a PET-CT scan) or possibly a biopsy. If a nodule is found to be a cancer, in general it will be at a very early stage and therefore suitable for curative treatment.

How will I get the scan results?
The medical team will let you know about the result of your next scan once it has been reported. This will usually take 2 to 3 weeks. If the result is reassuring they will write a letter to you and your GP. You may need another follow up scan after that, in which case the time and date of that scan will be arranged with you. If you need any other tests, an early appointment will be made in a hospital clinic for you to discuss this with the doctor.

Who do I contact if I have more questions?
If you don’t hear about a scan appointment, or if you don’t receive the results within a month of having the scan, please telephone the research team on 0113 392 6688.

If after receiving your letter there is anything else you would like to discuss, please contact the same number. We can arrange for one of the medical or nursing team to phone you to answer your questions.