Oncology (General Cancer)/Lung spot

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Question
3 months ago I had a lung cat scan and a spot was found measuring 9.5.
Is that big .I am a smoker for over 40yrs and am 61.
I am having another cat scan done in few weeks to see if it grew.
Would one grow in that short of time if it were cancer.
What would be the reason for not doing a biopsy on it right now.

Thanks

Answer
I am assuming that the spot is 9.5 mm, not 9.5 cm.  IN general, spots that are under 1 cm (10 mm) are not easy to biopsy with a needle, and so you have to do a "wedge resection" which is a big operation; and if the wedge resection shows cancer, you have to go back and do a formal cancer operation. There is a reasonable chance that a spot like this is benign. The general guidelines for such spots, especially if there are no other indicators of cancer (sometimes the appearance of the spot can suggest cancer, even though it is still small) is to wait and see if it grows.  In general, the CT scan taken after the discovery should be done within three months.  If the spot is the same in size, another should be done in six months, then a year later.  If all of these are stable, then you can reasonably conclude that it probably isn't cancer.  In my own practice, though, I continue to check out such spots every now and then, because people who have spots on their lung tend to have a real risk of getting lung cancer in the next five years.  If I thought the spot had grown even a little, I'd do a PET scan next to decide whether the spot is acting like a cancer, and to decide whether surgery can be done.  Hope this answers your question.

Oncology (General Cancer)

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Donald Higby, M.D.

Expertise

I can answer almost all questions related to the treatment and natural course of most kinds of cancer, especially cancers of prostate, colon, lung and breast.

Experience

I have been a practicing medical oncologist for 36 years, and have been chief of service at a major medical center for 25 years. I've also done research in cancer treatments.

Organizations
American Society of Clinical Oncology

Publications
New England Journal of Medicine American Journal of Medicine Journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Hematology Transfusion Medicine

Education/Credentials
MD, Stanford University Internal Medicine residency, St. Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO Medical Oncology Fellowship, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY

Awards and Honors
America's Best Physicians, last 14 years

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