Q. CT scan shows non-growing lung nodules with scars. What does it suggest?

Answered by
Dr. Vivek Chail
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Mar 22, 2020

Hi doctor,

Six years ago, I had a CT scan that incidentally found three small lung nodules. I had a follow-up scan six months later and they were the same and resembled scars.

I just started worrying about them as I have been a bit tight chested for a couple of days (I do have asthma every now and then) and I am worrying that what if they were cancer back then and are now grown into masses and are causing symptoms. Am I right in thinking that if they were malignant back then that I would have had serious symptoms before now? I have attached my report.



Welcome to

The nodules found six years back would have manifested into multiple lesions by now if there were cancer and you are right in your thoughts. Usually, cancer nodules double in 30 to 180 days time and if the nodules did not change in six months then cancer is not a likely possibility.

An annual chest x-ray is a recommended test to keep track and for a general check-up purpose.

Thank you doctor,

So if they were malignant back then six years ago, by now I would have had obvious symptoms and know that there was a serious issue, hospitalized, surgeries, etc? And if I am fine (just a bout of mild asthma) now six years later, can assume they were just benign nodules? If so, why would I need an annual chest x-ray? I hope that makes sense. In the report they said they resemble scars, is that common?



Welcome back to

A single chest x-ray done once in a year is a good screening tool for an adult at your age. Tiny nodules and scars can be difficult to tell apart if visualized on a two-dimensional plane. Nodules are supposed to be round and scars are usually flat and show a linear edge.

There is a mention of a flat margin with a nodular size in your report and can mean scars. (attachment removed to protect patient identity).

Thank you doctor,

So, you would assume that given six years later and I am still healthy and that they resembled flat scars back then, that I should be pretty safe now?



Welcome back to

Yes, things are likely looking healthy for you except for the few occasions of asthma attacks. Please take precautions to prevent any acute asthma attack and be in touch with your doctors.

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