Spots on the Lungs as revealed by a chest x-ray are usually indicators of some type of lung disease.
A Pulmonary Nodule is another name for a Spot on the Lung. If the nodule is less than 3 centimeters in diameter, it is called a Spot. If larger than 3 centimeters, it is referred to as a Mass. Pulmonary Nodules are round or oval in shape. Pulmonary Nodules or spots on the lung do not cause pain to the individual. They are easy to see when a health care provider takes an X-ray. They are not so easy for the health care provider to diagnose. Scarring or inflammation of the tissue makes it hard for the lungs to expand during breathing, and patients complain of not being able to get a good breath or feeling short of breath.
Types of Spots on the Lungs
Spots on the lung or Pulmonary Nodules are either benign or cancerous. If a nodule is benign, one does not need to do anything about it. It may have formed due to an infection in the lungs, which has cleared up. Just as a scab forms on a skin wound, a Pulmonary Nodule or spot forms on a lung wound. Your health care provider needs to treat cancerous spots as soon as possible for the best possible outcome.
Effects of Spots on the Lungs
Benign Pulmonary Nodules or Spots cause no effect to the person as long as they do not change in size or color. When one has a spot on his lung, he should monitor this spot by getting regular X-rays to determine if the spot has not changed. If the spot does not change, one does not need to take further action. If the spot is cancerous, your health care provider will prescribe a course of treatment, which the patient needs to follow.
- Tuberculosis. Tuberculosis is a contagious disease of the lung tissue and causes symptoms of weakness, fatigue, weight loss, coughing and hemoptysis, or the coughing up of blood. Tuberculosis is spread when a person coughs or sneezes and another person inhales the infected respiratory droplets. Tuberculosis on a chest x-ray is described as a cavitating lesion because the Tuberculosis Pathogen eats a cavity into the lung tissue.
- Lung Abscess. The spot of a lung abscess on a Chest X-Ray is a pus-filled cavity within the lung. A lung abscess occurs when infected oral secretions are aspirated into the lungs. Patients with poor oral hygiene or gingivitis will have germs in their secretions that if aspirated, infect the lung. Symptoms of a Lung Abscess includes fever, cough, night sweats and weight loss. Sputum may be purulent or blood-streaked and smell foul. Treatment consists of Intravenous Antibiotics.
- Lung Cancer. Lung Cancer can appear on a chest x-ray as a spot or nodule in the lungs. Smokers have the greatest risk of lung cancer. Other risk factors include exposure to second-hand smoke, family history and time spent in environments with radon gas or asbestosis. Symptoms of Lung Cancer include shortness of breath, coughing up blood, chest pain, hoarseness and weight loss. Treatment for Lung Cancer can consist of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
Word of Caution for Spots on the Lungs
A simple Chest X-Ray easily detects a Spot on the Lung. Early detection of a spot or pulmonary nodule on the lung may lead to early detection of cancer. At this stage, there are no symptoms of cancer or any other warning signs. Obtaining a chest X-ray is the only way to know if a spot exists and is the first step in treatment for a cancerous pulmonary nodule. Many people do not get a Chest X-Ray as part of an annual checkup, but if one smokes or has other risk factors for cancer, one should consider getting a yearly Chest X-Ray.
- Study shows breath analysis could help diagnose pulmonary nodules (eurekalert.org)
- Lung cancer overtakes breast cancer as biggest killer of women (itv.com)