Patients who present with nonsolid lung nodules are likely to find that biopsies and the potential for more invasive surgery are in their future. Although these typically asymptomatic growths in the lung are not always a cause for concern, their potential to become so may have some doctors rushing to the conclusion invasive intervention is required to prevent or stop lung cancer in its tracks. Researchers are finding that annual repeat CT scans may help prevent the use of unnecessary invasive actions.
A recent study tracked nearly 60,000 patients in an effort to reduce the number of deaths attributed to lung cancer. Researchers in this study concluded that nonsolid lung nodules of any size could be successfully followed using annual repeat CT scans. These scans enabled doctors to find any cancers that developed at early stage while preventing those who didn’t require biopsies or invasive surgery from having to undergo this type of treatment in the first place. After all, many nonsolid nodules turn out to be non-invasive growths often caused by infections or other relatively mundane sources. Another large study came to the same basic conclusions.
Keeping track of nonsolid nodules is important, researchers involved in the studies noted. These nodules do have the potential in some cases to develop changes that are associated with higher risk forms of invasive cancer. By using CT scans annually, doctors can track any changes in size or character of the nodules without having to make a patient endure a surgical procedure.
People who are diagnosed with nonsolid lung nodules are urged to speak with their healthcare providers about the need for biopsies, surgery or other interventions. In many cases, simply tracking any development through the use of low-dose CT scans may serve to help patients avoid invasive interventions while enabling careful tracking for the potential of lung cancer’s development.