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A biopsy is the only way to confirm if the nodules are malignant or cancerous.
Countless pulmonary nodules are discovered each year during chest X-rays or CT scans. Most nodules are noncancerous (benign). A solitary pulmonary nodule is found on up to 0.2% of all chest X-rays films. Lung nodules can be found on up to half of all lung CT scans. Risk factors for malignant pulmonary nodules include a history of smoking and older age.
A pulmonary nodule is a small round or oval-shaped growth in the lung. It may also be called a “spot on the lung” or a “coin lesion.” Pulmonary nodules are smaller than three centimeters (around 1.2 inches) in diameter. If the growth is larger than that, it is called a pulmonary mass and is more likely to represent a cancer than a nodule.
There are two main types of pulmonary nodules: malignant (cancerous) and benign (noncancerous). Over 90% of pulmonary nodules that are smaller than two centimeters (around 3/4 inch) in diameter are benign.