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Due to the increased use of CT scans, the discovery of pulmonary, or lung, nodules is becoming more common. Lung nodules are small abnormalities in the lungs seen on X-rays or CT scans.
Most lung nodules are harmless: Often they are areas of inflammation or scarring in the lungs. However, lung cancer in its earliest stages can also appear as a small nodule.
The key is being able to reliably determine which are cancer and which are not.
Valley’s Pulmonary Nodule Center is dedicated to determining which pulmonary nodules require further investigation and which can be ignored.
How Can You Tell If a Lung Nodule Is Cancerous?
If your physician found an uncertain lung nodule on an X-ray or CT scan, our center can provide you with a second opinion and help you determine how best to respond to it.
Our center bases recommendations for managing these nodules on standardized algorithms and state-of-the-art diagnostics:
- When lung nodules grow in size, they become more suspicious as cancer.
- To track growth, our center uses software that analyzes nodule growth in three-dimensions, known as volumetric analysis. Note: No additional radiation or scanning is needed to perform this new type of analysis.
- Volumetric analysis is a more accurate way to detect nodule growth compared to standard, 2D scanning techniques.
Diagnosing Lung Nodules at Valley
We offer the following advanced options for evaluating and diagnosing nodules:
“Thin slice” CT scans for the evaluation of pulmonary nodules
- CT scans become more accurate when more “cuts” or “slices” are used.
- At Valley, CT slices of the lungs are routinely set at 1.25 millimeters, providing more images for the radiologist to evaluate when imaging a pulmonary nodule.
- These thin slice CTs usually result in four times as many images compared to standard CT. However, using thin slice CT scans does NOT result in more radiation for the patient and is completed during one breath-hold by the patient.
Minimally invasive biopsy approaches for diagnosing lung cancer:
If we find a suspicious nodule that needs to be biopsied for lung cancer, we offer the following minimally invasive biopsy approaches:
- Transbronchial needle aspiration using superDimension® navigational system
- Transthoracic needle biopsy
- Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) guided biopsy
- Video assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) biopsy
To learn more about these approaches, visit Diagnosing Lung Cancer.
Getting a Second Opinion
To obtain an opinion about a pulmonary nodule, please call 201-634-5722.