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CT Scan and Nodules

Kaye2003
Posts: 86
Joined: Mar 2004

I am usually on the colorectal board because my husband had crc in Oct. 03. Today he is cancer free, thank GOD. I hope it is okay to come over here because I have a few questions I hope some of you can help me with.
I had a CT Scan Monday to check for some problems with my left rib cage caused by an accident in Dec. 06. I got the report to day and it says pertaining to the lungs (44 years old, I do smoke and have a deformed left rib cage for the Dec 06 accident):

“A few nodular densities, which are not definitely calcified, the largest measuring roughly 6 mm in the lateral aspect of the left lower lobe, partially calcified 4 mm nodular density lateral aspect of the right lower lobe and a non calcified 3 mm nodular density anterior aspect of the right middle lobe. Recommend correlation with chest x-ray findings if these are visible on chest x-ray. Recommend continued follow up with chest x-ray to document continued stability over a two year period. If not visible on the chest x-ray, consider follow-up chest CT in six month.”

My questions are this:
Does this sound like it is in both lungs or just one?
Is it better for the nodule to be calcified or non calcified?
Is it good news or bad if the nodules do not show up on a regular x-ray?
Does this def mean cancer?

The report also stated:
Atherosclerotic vascular disease of the thoracic aorta?
Anyone know what that is?

Thanks for any and all help.
God Bless,
Kaye

dscott
Posts: 35
Joined: Feb 2008

I can not answer most of your questions but one I have a little experience with. My boyfriend had a chest xray in beginning of Aug. and one the year before. They said COPD. Well by the middle of Aug. he was diagnosed with pleural effusion. The biopsy of the fluid showed lung cancer. When they did do the cat and bone scan it showed up with met to many bones. I am not trying to scare you as the doctors know far more than me but I would check into getting the CT scan of lung because as you can see not all lung cancer show on xray. I wish I could be of more help...Debbie

cabbott
Posts: 1046
Joined: Aug 2006

I consulted a family member who was a doctor when I had my first x-ray(taken because I had a bronchitis type cough that wasn't responding to treatment) with a "spot" showing on the right lung. She stated that a CAT scan was definately in order so that the spot could be examined in 3-D and because CAT scans could pick up more than x-rays could. She told me that the CAT scan would be repeated after a waiting period of about 3 months to see if the spot had changed in size or had company that hadn't been around from the first. Getting bigger or getting more was an ominous sign of course. However, she said that lots of things besides cancer can show up on a CAT scan. Some of those things are nasty and some aren't. Researching what else it could be was not always conducive to good sleeping, though the story of someone whose spot turned out to be dried-up mucous from pneumonia or another story (from my surgeon) who opened up a patient he was sure had stage 4 cancer only to find they had treatable TB was heartening. Um, I didn't get that kind of news. I was found early though, thanks to the x-ray, followed by 2 CAT scans, and a VATS biopsy. (VATS procedures for small nodules like yours are MUCH easier to recover from if you have to go that route). Well, anyhow, back to your situation. Take the cautious route and definately follow this thing up. Your nodules are very small and may just be scar tissue. If they don't grow, follow them up with a repeat look after a period of time recommended by your radiologist. But just in case they turn out to be trouble, start preparing now for possible surgery. They won't do surgery on someone with diminished lung capacity even if the surgery might be curative (which it can be in early stage lung cancer). So do all you can now to build your lung capacity. You probably know you should quit smoking. Do it now. Start a walking/exercise program now. You have a few months to get in shape. If the news turns out to be good, you can be glad that you started getting in shape. If the news is not so perky, you will be more ready for surgery and whatever treatment the doctors recommend. I remember reading an ovarian cancer survivor's account of trying to bounce into the doctor's examining room just so he would think she was healthy enough to endure aggressive chemo. Most of us would rather avoid it, but she knew what she had was serious and she wanted the best treatment out there for her problem. The book ended with her being one of the survivors. I try very hard to aim for the same.

We have three lobes on the right and two on the left. The nodules can all be different things.

Remember that it is not cancer until the pathologist sees it under a microscope.

Atherosclerotic vascular disease of the thoracic aorta was something I had to look up on the net. Here's what I found: Atheroma is the thickening of the arteries from the depositing of plaque on the artery walls. Arteriosclerosis is the hardening of the artery walls. Atheroma and arteriosclerosis lead to atherosclerosis. In other words, it sounds like you have a problem with your circulatory system that the CAT scan picked up before you had a heart attack. That is good. Knowing you have a problem gives you time to correct it. See your doctor for recommendations. They might suggest diet, exercise and medical interventions, depending on how serious it looked. Remember, knowledge is power. If you know you have a problem you can start solving that problem. That's a whole lot better than the guys out there with health problems that don't know it and aren't doing anything about it until it is too late. Good luck!

jadjr
Posts: 30
Joined: Jan 2006

Hi I think I can speak to both of your main questions. Nodules once identified should be checked by CT (xrays mean nothing) at least every six months until they have not changed for 3 years. Mine did after 2 years and turned out to be cancer stage 1 which was removed surgically. The aoertic problem needs to be evaluated by a thoracic surgeon or cardiologist. I would recomend a second opinion at the Clevleland Clinic in Ohio for the Aorta and MD Aderson in Huston for the nodule. The worst error youm can makre is to accept the first opinion. Had I done so I would be dead today

Kaye2003
Posts: 86
Joined: Mar 2004

Thanks to all of you that replied. I’m already working on that smoking thing. Only had 3 today. That’s great for me. I’m going to see the Doc next week about getting some help in that department. I know I can’t do it on my own right now.
Needless to say, I’m trying not to over worry about the nodules until I can see my family doctor next week. Worrying for the next 6 months will just drive me crazy. I actually got the results thru my hernia doctor. He ordered the CT Scan looking for a hernia in my left rib cage. I was in a bad head on auto accident in Dec 06 and have had costochondritis since, with major swelling in the left rib cage and the CT Scan did show it had been either broke or fractured in the wreck. (I am having surgery Wed. for a groin hernia.)
The CT Scan also showed emphysema. So please, anyone that still smokes, put them down. And please keep me in your prayers for good test results and the will power to stop smoking myself. At least my EKG and blood work came back normal. Again, thanks to all of you. You will be in my prayers as always.
God bless,
Kaye

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