Lung Nodules

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A lung nodule is a small, round growth in the lung sometimes called a “spot on the lung.” Most are benign, but may represent an early sign of disease and possibly early-stage lung cancer.

Lung nodules can form when inflamed lung tissue from an infection or other illness forms a clump of cells that can harden. Lung nodules also can be an abnormal but harmless growth of cells. Less commonly, lung nodules can be early-stage malignant tumors.

Nodules are smaller than 3 centimeters or 1.2 inches. A growth larger than that is considered a pulmonary mass and is more likely to be cancerous. Nodules are found in up to half of adults who get a chest X-ray or CT scan, according to the American Thoracic Society.

The board-certified and fellowship-trained specialists at Norton Pulmonary Specialists have the experience and training to provide a precise diagnosis of lung nodules. If treatment is necessary, they’ll develop a customized plan for your care.

The Norton Pulmonary Specialists team works together to collaborate on your case. It also works with specialists across the Norton Healthcare system to collect viewpoints from other physicians when necessary. Whether you need to manage symptoms or require aggressive treatment for cancer, we have the resources to take care of you.

What Is a Lung Nodule?

Lung nodules are small overgrowths of tissue surrounded by healthy tissue and will be apparent in a chest X-ray or CT scan.

Scar tissue, a healed infection or an irritant from the air can cause a lung nodule.

When to Worry About Lung Nodules

Very few lung nodules are cancerous. Likelihood of cancer increases if you are older, if the nodule is larger, if you are or have been a cigarette smoker or have other cancer risks such as a family history or asbestos exposure.

We’ll monitor your nodule to watch for growth over time. We’ll conduct regular CT scans to track the size of your nodule. Benign nodules usually don’t grow. If a nodule stays the same for two years, the chances of cancer are very low.

In some cases, we’ll need to take a biopsy of the nodule with a needle or a surgical procedure. Minimally invasive lung biopsies, using robotic-assisted bronchoscopy, allow our specialists to reach nodules on more parts of the lung, sometimes avoiding major surgery. Without the risks that come with major surgery, robotic-assisted bronchoscopy allows our specialists to perform more biopsies and increase the chances of identifying cancerous nodules at a very early stage when they are most treatable.

Care That’s Convenient for You

  • Our staff includes interventional pulmonologists who are trained and experienced in minimally invasive diagnostics and treatment, including robotic-assisted bronchoscopy, meaning you’ll have access to advanced technology for your care.
  • We have seven convenient Louisville-area locations: Northeastern Louisville, downtown Louisville, Newburg, Pleasure Ridge Park and Mount Washington, Kentucky; in Southern Indiana, Jeffersonville and Scottsburg.
  • We provide pulmonary care and respiratory management of critical care patients at Norton Audubon Hospital, Norton Brownsboro Hospital and Norton Hospital.
  • Norton Healthcare’s pulmonary rehabilitation program has three locations in Louisville and is certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation.
  • We work as a team with referring physicians, including pediatricians.
  • Medicare, Medicaid and most major commercial insurance plans are accepted.

About Norton Pulmonary Specialists

The board-certified and fellowship-trained physicians with Norton Pulmonary Specialists are leaders in caring for Louisville and Southern Indiana patients with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema and other lung diseases.

  • More than two dozen board-certified and fellowship-trained physicians with extensive experience specialize in diagnosis and management of all forms of lung diseases and sleep disorders, so you can get the care you need.
  • The Norton Pulmonary Specialists team pursues leading-edge treatments, and our specialists are investigators on many clinical trials that give patients access to the latest treatments.
  • Our specialists use robotic-assisted bronchoscopy to perform minimally invasive biopsies of the lung, which allows for greater precision during the important diagnostic procedure.  
  • Norton Pulmonary Specialists is accredited by the American College of Chest Physicians, the American Thoracic Society, the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
  • Our providers will give you a precise diagnosis and develop a customized treatment plan for your lung condition, so you can get back to living your best life.
  • For asthma, your physician will work with you to develop a written asthma action plan to help you manage your symptoms.
  • Medicare, Medicaid and most major commercial insurance plans are accepted.
  • Communicate with your provider, manage appointments, refill prescriptions and more anytime from a computer or mobile device with a free Norton MyChart account.

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