What to Watch: A Guide to Abnormal Findings on a Chest Scan

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by Dr. Javier Dieguez, MD

Women get mammograms to prevent colon cancer. Men and women get colonoscopies to prevent colon cancer. Why, then, is it that lung and chest scans aren’t common practice?

Early detection of cancer in a patient between the ages of 55 and 74 increases chances of curing malignant findings, especially if the patient has a history of smoking.

Getting a film is the key to broadening treatment options. Early detection opens up more opportunities to control cancer, but pulmonologists aren’t the only doctors administering these tests. Primary Care Physicians are now suggesting them as preventative screenings too.


  • Check-in regularly with your doctor
  • Don’t let symptoms go unchecked
  • Be¬†tested with image¬†scanning¬†and look over them closely with your doctor

Once you have results and a nodule is found, we will either become your team or recommend that you find a pulmonologist to work with you.

What to do with a finding

A nodule is a finding that is under 3cm. A lung mass is a finding that is over 3cm. A nodule is easier to treat and has a better prognosis than a lung mass. Finding problem areas as nodules allows your team to keep an eye on it and find out if it is benign or malignant.

Many people’s results will reveal nodules. The only way to know if a nodule is a cause for concern is to watch it for growth over time. If a nodule is normal for 2 years, it is considered benign. If the nodule shows sign of growth, additional diagnostic procedures will be required.

The Fleischner Pulmonary Nodule Guidelines are usually for follow-up and management of pulmonary nodules. They help you to follow nodules with specified information that is dependent on medical and exposure history.

When considering new findings, it is always important to compare the most recent film to a prior film to see what is new and what was preexisting. A benign nodule that was caused by outside exposure is known as a granuloma. Granulomas appear very calcified on CT results. This means they appear much more white than other types of findings. Granulomas are formed by the body encasing outside particles that have been inhaled.

Circular nodules have the best chance of being benign. Spiculated nodules will be watched closely, no matter of size.

Some cancers are hereditary. But family history of cancer doesn’t automatically mean that irregular findings will be cancerous.

In early stage cancer, surgery can be a solution in place of chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment. This is one reason why finding abnormalities early is crucial to fighting cancer.

Learn more from ADC. Contact us with any questions.

Hear more from Dr. Javier Dieguez, MD:

NFL Cheerleaders Shave Heads

Colts Cheerleader Has Personal Reasons Behind Shaving Head for Cancer Research

By Katie Kindelan | ABC News Blogs

Colts cheerleaders shave their heads to raise money for cancer research.  (Photo by Brian Spurlock, US Presswire)

Colts cheerleaders shave their heads to raise money for cancer research. (Photo by Brian Spurlock, US Presswire)

The¬†Indianapolis Colts’¬†cheerleader¬†who had her head shaved in front of 60,000 cheering fans and a national TV audience had a very personal reason for agreeing to lose her locks to the team’s mascot for cancer research.


“I’ve had family members and mentors [with cancer] and I volunteer at a local children’s hospital and met little girls who lost their hair and saw the bravery that they possess and it was just something that I wanted to do to help reach others,”¬†Megan M.¬†said today on ”¬†Good Morning America.”

Megan, whose last name was withheld by the¬†Colts¬†as standard team policy, was the sole Colts’ cheerleader to accept a challenge sent out by Blue, the team’s mascot, via Twitter earlier this month to support head coach¬†Chuck Pagano¬†in his battle against leukemia.¬†Megan¬†agreed to lose her locks if Blue could raise $10,000 for cancer research by Nov. 25.

In just weeks, through fans’ donations to the CHUCKSTRONG fund ¬†on the team’s website, more than $22,000 was raised so Megan lost her hair at the start of the Colts’ fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. While Megan was the only cheerleader to publicly agree to the challenge, she was joined by fellow cheerleader Crystal Ann in shaving solidarity on game day, and the two held hands as they both went under the razor.

Twitter Image "Newly bald Colts cheerleader Megan with her father #chuckstrong" - @Fox59Larry

Twitter Image “Newly bald Colts cheerleader Megan with her father #chuckstrong” – @Fox59Larry

“The fans were so supportive and just cheering for me the whole entire time and my captain was really great,” Megan M. told “GMA” of the very public experience. “She tried to call a lot of dances that did not involve a lot of hair whipping around to make me feel more comfortable when I was getting used to it.”

Blue’s challenge to the team’s cheerleaders came after a group of Colts’ players and coaches shaved their heads in support of Pagano, who is undergoing chemotherapy to battle his leukemia.

In addition to Blue’s challenge, the team also partnered with Great Clips earlier this month to offer fans who wanted to shave their heads in honor of¬†Coach Pagano¬†a free buzz cut and a $10 donation to Blue’s CHUCKSTRONG Challenge. All money raised will go to the IU Health Simon Cancer Center,¬†according to the Colts’ website.

Pagano has been absent from the team’s sidelines recently while he undergoes treatment but was in the stands at Sunday’s game as his team beat Buffalo, 20-13. He received a standing ovation from fans at the game and, according to Megan, has been grateful for the fans’ and the team’s support from the start.

“He was nice enough to send me a text while he was going through this himself, thanking me for doing this,” Megan said. “He’s just a really wonderful man.” READ MORE