An incidental lung nodule on CT scan can create uncertainty for clinicians and anxiety for patients and families, given that lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality in the United States. Incidental lung nodules are not uncommon. A systematic review of CT screening lung cancer trials noted that a lung nodule was detected in up to 51% of study participants.1 More than 95% of detected nodules are benign and have a wide variety of causes, including infections, granulomatous disease, hamartomas, arteriovenous malformations, round atelectasis, and lymph nodes.
Anderson IJ, Davis AM. Incidental Pulmonary Nodules Detected on CT Images. JAMA. 2018;320(21):2260–2261. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.16336
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