What are some causes of spots on the lungs other than cancer?


Quick Answer

Some spots that show up on lung X-rays are pulmonary nodules rather than cancer. These nodules can develop into cancer over time, so it is important to monitor their development, but many of them remain benign and never require any medical treatment, as stated by Healthline.

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Full Answer

Lung modules come from a number of different causes, and they generally are an indicator of a benign condition. Fungal infections, such as coccidioidomycosis or histoplasmosis, can leave scars or marks after they clear up, as can such bacterial infections as pneumonia and meningitis. Tuberculosis is a mycobacterial infection that can leave nodules on the lungs. Hamartoma is a benign form of tumor that can cause lung nodules as well, notes Healthline.

Once doctors see spots on the lung on X-ray images, they order more sophisticated imaging tests to determine whether the spot is likely to be lung cancer or a nodule. The next test is generally a CT scan, a set of X-rays that provide a three-dimensional picture of the lungs. If abnormalities remain, the patient then moves on to an MRI, which uses magnetism to create images of interior tissues, and possibly a PET scan, which uses radioactive substances to render bright three-dimensional images. A PET scan can define tumors in the active-growth stage, as stated by About.com.

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