A lump on the lung can be described as a nodule or a mass. A nodule is a spot on the lung, which measures less than 3 cm. In X-rays and CT scans, nodules appear as white round growths. A lung mass is defined as any mass exceeding 3 cm in diameter. Lung nodules are more common than lung masses.
A lump on lung develops due to abnormal cell division or cell death. It can occur on lung tissue or in the tubular muscles that deliver air into the lungs.
It is very important that a lump on the lung be medically checked for signs of cancer. This is mostly because lung cancer is one of the most common types of cancer today. Although smoking is a leading cause of lung cancer, more than half of patients diagnosed with lung cancer have never smoked or have already stopped. This article examines the types, causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatments for lumps on lung.
Lump in lung causes; lung nodules
Lung nodules are very common causes of lumps in the lung. Only about 5% of all cases will end up in lung cancer.
In most cases, lung nodules are discovered by accident during medical checkups. This is largely because they rarely cause identifiable symptoms. In fact, most of them will shrink in size and disappear on their own. Potential lump in lung symptoms due to lung nodules include:
- Coughing blood
- Pain in the chest or back
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of weight
These symptoms are mostly observed in cancerous lung nodules. For this reason, doctors encourage patients to go for checkups as scheduled. Comparing previous images and pictures from X-rays and CT scans will help identify any suspicious changes in the size of the lung nodules.
Infections and diseases that affect the lungs such as tuberculosis and rheumatoid arthritis can cause lung nodules due to inflammation. The nodules can also develop as a result of benign growths. Cancerous tumors may also start in form of small lung nodules.
Diagnosis and treatment
A lung nodule is easily detected by X-rays and CT scans. Its location, size, shape and evolution will help determine if it is cancerous or not. A biopsy is usually considered for patients with a history or with a higher risk of contracting lung cancer.
Treatment for benign lung nodules is usually not necessary. The lung nodules will be left to resolve on their own but with close monitoring. If cancerous, the lung nodule will be treated through chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgical removal.
Lump on lung due to benign growths
Benign growths are common lump in the lungs causes. The term benign is widely used to describe tumors, lumps or growths that are not cancerous. For example, a painful lump in scrotum after vasectomy can be considered benign. A benign tumor, lump, tumor or growth will:
- Not spread to other parts of the body (metastasis)
- Not invade other body tissues but may push or press against them
- disappear on their own or not keep growing in size abnormally
- not be fatal if not treated
Benign lumps in lungs include:
Hamartomas are growths that mostly develop on the outer parts of the lungs. They are typically made of the normal tissues that make up the lungs, just that the tissues are accumulated in localized regions in abnormally larger masses. In X-ray images, a hamartoma lump appears round and fluffy in shape. They are more common in older men, over the age of 50 years. Hamartomas are not harmful but can press against neighboring tissue to cause complications in breathing.
Pulmonary papillomas aren’t very common. They develop in the airways of the lungs. HPV is a common cause of this type of lumps on lungs.
Pulmonary artery aneurysm
This is a condition that results from inflammation of the pulmonary artery. It mostly occurs in the lower abdomen but can also develop near or in the lungs. Lump in groin area male symptoms due to pulmonary artery aneurysm are more common than in females.
A lump on the lung can also be caused by an abscess, an infection or an AV malformation.
Carcinoid lump on lung symptoms and causes
Carcinoid is a disease that causes tumors, mostly in the digestive tract but also on the lungs. The disease rarely causes identifiable symptoms. However, carcinoid tumors have a tendency of producing hormones which in turn produce a number of symptoms. The symptoms include:
- Pain in the chest
- Skin flushing
- Pinkish marks on the skin
- Shortness of breath and wheezing
Diagnosis and treatment for carcinoid tumors is best done by a doctor.
Lump in the lungs causes; lung cancer
Lung cancer is said to be the leading cause of cancer deaths. As mentioned earlier, smoking is the biggest risk factor. This includes passive smoking. All the same, lung cancer is still reported in non-smokers. About 1 in every 10 people with lung lumps will have lung cancer.
Lung cancer cells can begin in the lungs, spread from other body parts (metastasis) or form from sarcomas and lymphomas. Metastasized cancer cells are hard to treat. This is because lumps are likely to keep coming back even after a successful treatment. For example, a lump near anus not painful symptoms can be caused by a cancerous lump, which initially started in lungs. Treating the lump near anus will have a small or nonexistent effect on the one in lungs.
Lung cancer lumps rarely cause notable signs in the early stages. This is one of the reasons why it is such a deadly disease. Symptoms are noted when the disease has reached the II or III stage. At stage II, cancer cells will have spread to the lymphatic system. At stage III, the cells will have spread to other body parts. Potential symptoms include:
- Chronic cough
- Chest pain
- Voice hoarseness
- Coughing up blood
- Sudden weight loss
- Hard lump on back of head, in groin or armpit due to swollen lymph nodes
Other than smoking, exposure to cigarette smoke, asbestos, radon gas and other carcinogenic materials encourage lung cancer. People from family lines with a history of cancer are also more predisposed.
Diagnosis and treatment
X-ray images and CT scans are used to identify the location and size of a lung cancer lump. To confirm the diagnosis, your doctor may perform a biopsy or lab test your sputum. Follow-up tests will be conducted to identify the stage of the cancer.
After analyzing the results from tests, your doctor will discuss the best treatment options available. Cancer lumps are generally removed through surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The extents to which each will be used depend on a number of factors.
Self-care measures and prevention for lump on lung
The best approach you can adopt to prevent lump on lung is to keep up with routine medical checkups. You find that most lump on lung causes will not manifest notable symptoms until the lump has grown large in size.
It is also best if you can quit smoking. Cigarette smoke continuously damages the lining of the lungs. With time, the damaged tissue cells will fail to regenerate normally. Even after years of smoking, quitting the vice greatly reduces the risk of developing lung cancer.
If you notice a combination of lump in lungs symptoms that we have identified, get medical help immediately. Lumps in lungs are quite hard to treat. The earlier they are noted, the higher chances of recovery there is.
Make sure to retain pictures and images from your last X-ray or CT scan. They will help you identify any evolution in a supposedly benign lung nodule or mass. This is the base of close monitoring. More information on topics such as lump on my labia, how to check for breast lumps, what do testicular lumps look like and so on can be helpful. Much the same can be said about online images and pictures for different types of lumps, including lump in palm of hand pictures and such.
When to see a doctor for a lump on lung
Many cases of lumps on lungs are only discovered after X-ray imaging or CT scan. See your doctor if you;
- Are experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath, chronic cough, wheezing, chest pain, back pain and sudden loss of weight
- Are from a family line with a history of cancer
- Are a smoker, have ever smoked or exposed to cigarette smoke for long periods
- Have been exposed to carcinogens, mostly radon gas