Lung Nodule FAQ

1. What is a lung nodule?
A lung nodule is a spot seen on chest x-rays or CT scans. CT scans are very good at detecting lung nodules. Many lung nodules are found by accident or “incidentally” when a CT scan is done.  Lung nodules are very common. 25% of people who undergo screening for lung cancer will have a lung nodule found, but most are not cancers. The evaluation of any nodule should be done thoroughly and carefully. 

2.  What happens if I have a lung nodule and I am referred to the Yale Lung Nodule Program?
One of our experienced clinicians, who will go through your history, perform a physical examination, review your radiology studies, and then have an in-depth discussion with you about the possible causes of your nodule. As a team, we will collectively determine what, if anything should be done. Evaluating your pulmonary history and any lung cancer risk factors are important parts of this evaluation.

3.  I am concerned my lung nodule is a cancer - will your team help me?
If our team feels that your nodule is suspicious for cancer, we will work with you and guide you through an appropriate evaluation. 

4. If my lung nodule is not cancer, what could it be?
Many lung conditions can leave temporary or permanent spots in the lungs. For example, infections can leave behind scars. These would be just like scars on your skin; they are present but will not cause any harm. Other nodules may be related to current infection or inflammation. The nodule program team will help you understand what the potential causes of your nodule might be, and whether any treatment is necessary. 

5. I had a lung nodule found on a chest CT scan done at another institution, and I am worried about what the doctors there are telling me about the spot – can I come to the Yale Nodule Program for a second opinion?
Yes, we are happy to provide second opinions for lung nodules that have been evaluated at other institutions.