Benign Lung Tumor

This information is useful for children, adults, and older adults
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Why Yale Medicine?
  • Our physicians quickly investigate suspicious-looking nodules.
  • Because of our multi-disciplinary expertise, we determine which nodules or masses need follow-up imaging or other tests.
  • We schedule regular patient check-ups for monitoring.

When physicians detect a spot during a routine chest X-ray or computed tomography (CT) scan, they will investigate it to determine the cause.  A lung nodule or mass typically refers to a growth occurring anywhere in the lungs. Most nodules are harmless, called benign lung tumors, and often require observation only. In this case, the doctor will likely advise patients to adopt a “wait-and-see” approach, and monitor the growth over a period of months or years to see if it changes in shape or size.

However, a lung nodule “could be related to a cancer,” says Jonathan Puchalski, MD, a pulmonologist at Yale Medicine and director of the Interventional Pulmonary Program at Yale School of Medicine. The likelihood that a lung growth is cancerous depends upon many factors, including a patient’s age, his or her history of smoking, and exposure to potentially harmful carcinogens in the environment, such as asbestos. If cancer is detected, then it’s important seek treatment advice immediately.

The Thoracic Oncology Program (TOP) at Yale includes lung doctors, surgeons, radiologists, cancer doctors, smoking cessation experts, and others who work as a group to help determine whether a nodule or mass is likely benign or cancerous. Together we determine the appropriate investigation with a quick and thorough personalized approach.    

A wide range of symptoms may suggest that a patient has lung nodules or a lung mass. These include mild cough, shortness of breath, and wheezing. Other patients may experience weight loss, pain in the chest or coughing up blood. However, many patients with a lung nodule or lung mass have no symptoms at all.

Clinical Trials

New treatments for many conditions are tested in clinical trials, which ultimately bring lifesaving new drugs and devices to the patients who need them most. By participating in a clinical trial, you may get access to the most advanced treatments for your condition, and help determine their benefits for future patients.