There is a prevailing impression among many physicians that most circumscribed intrathoracic neoplasms are extrapulmonary and benign, and that their prompt removal is not important. The basis for this impression is in part the fact that a considerable number of small circumscribed neoplasms at first cause few or no troublesome symptoms and also that such tumors may, for a period of months, remain apparently stationary with regard to growth. The truth is that a majority of circumscribed intrathoracic neoplasms arise within the lung (almost all of them being malignant), many of those that arise outside the lung are malignant and, therefore, the prompt removal of any circumscribed neoplasm which cannot be proved benign is of vital importance.
The preoperative demonstration of the exact nature of primary intrathoracic neoplasms is usually impossible unless a specimen of tissue can be obtained for microscopic examination by bronchoscopy, esophagoscopy, needle aspiration or from a
ALEXANDER J. CIRCUMSCRIBED INTRATHORACIC NEOPLASMS. JAMA. 1942;119(5):395-397. doi:10.1001/jama.1942.02830220011003