Treatment for cancerous lung nodules often lasts months and typically involves some combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, reports the American Cancer Society. Benign lung nodules rarely require treatment beyond monitoring for growth with computed tomography scanning, notes the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Calcification of a lung nodule is generally an indication that it is noncancerous, reports the Annals of Thoracic Medicine. Additionally, nodules smaller than 2 centimeters in diameter have less than a 10-percent chance of being cancerous, notes Cleveland Clinic. Causes for benign pulmonary nodules include infection and broader conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis that cause inflammation, explains eMedicineHealth.
To determine whether nodules are cancerous, doctors ask questions about smoking and exposure to certain chemicals, states Cleveland Clinic. They examine X-rays or computed tomography scans to see the size and shape of any nodules, and compare these to older scans when possible. In some cases, they employ positron emission tomography or biopsies. If there is concern about the growths, and minimally invasive procedures fail to establish whether the growths are cancerous, doctors sometimes remove the nodules surgically.