Whenever someone hears bad news from the doctor, regarding a strange growth located on one's lungs, he/she is bound to be scared and nervous, suspecting cancer, which is, of course, the worst case scenario. However, in a majority of lung nodule cases, these growths turn out to be benign. Yet, it takes time for the results of the analysis to come, leaving people worried and nervous. The following lines will provide additional information on the matter, helping you understand the whole situation better.
Benign Lung Nodules or Tumors
Basically, a nodule is nothing more than a spot visible on an X-ray or a CT scan. This is a very common occurrence since one in every 500 X-rays gives out this kind of information. This abnormal growth is usually surrounded by lung tissue.
Regardless, all benign growths of this type have certain characteristics. So, chances of your lung nodule being benign are greater if you are younger than 40 and a non-smoker. Also, regarding the results, benign nodules on the lung are likely to be smaller and to contain calcium.
These growths are not cancerous and, thereby, cause no threat to your health. The same goes for benign lung tumors which may grow from numerous parts of one's lung.
In most cases, benign lung tumors are analyzed in order to rule out early stages of lung cancer. If this type of cancer is caught and treated early, chances of survival are incomparably increased. Even though these nodules and tumors, being benign, do not cause any signs of their presence, in some cases they may manifest through wheezing, coughing up blood, suffering from shortness of breath, or having fevers along with pneumonia.
Causes of Benign Lung Tumors and Nodules
Apart from the above mentioned causes, these growths may appear due to inflammations or infections affecting the lungs. These are tuberculosis, infectious fungus, lung abscess or pneumonia. Sometimes, infections do not occur, but nodules or tumors do, due to rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis or Wegener granulomatosis. Birth defects may lead to tumors and nodules affecting the lungs later in life.
Types of Benign Lung Tumors
Hamartomas are one of the most common types of lung tumors, usually being made of the tissue from the lung lining, made of fat and cartilage. On the other hand, 50% of all benign lung tumors are bronchial adenomas, created from mucous glands and windpipe ducts. Alternatively, if a lung tumor is made of connective or fatty tissue, it is named chondroma, fibroma or lipoma.
Even though these tumors are benign, these should be monitored regularly, since, in some cases, they might evolve into cancer. Any changes in the size, shape or other characteristics of a nodule or a tumor may be signs of matters getting worse.
Thus, blood tests, tuberculin skin tests, PET scans, CT and MRI scans or biopsy may be necessary during diagnosis and treatment.