Can Pneumonia Cause Lung Nodules?

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Pneumonia is an inflammation in one or both of your lungs. It’s a serious illness that can sometimes be fatal. Lung nodules are growths on your lungs that are usually benign but could be early-stage lung cancer. Medical procedures are available to diagnose and treat pneumonia. Other tests can identify the age and size of a lung nodule to determine whether it is cancerous. Common pneumonia has not been found to cause lung nodules.

Details

Lung nodules are usually small–less than an inch, or 25mm, in diameter, according to MayoClinic.com. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, lung nodules appear, on average, in roughly one of every 500 chest x-rays. According to MedHelp, a nodule that does not change size for two full years is considered stable. Periodic CT-scans during that period are used to monitor any changes in case the nodule is cancerous.

Pneumonia

The most common cause of pneumonia is infection, usually bacterial or viral. Possible symptoms include chest pain, cough, fever with chills and sweats, headache, shortness of breath and weakness. According to MedHelp, treatment options depend on the severity of your illness and whether the cause is bacterial, viral or something else. Besides medication, treatment usually involves bed rest and plenty of fluids. Symptoms can linger for more than a week.

Lung Nodules

Causes of lung nodules include cysts, fungal infections, hematoma, histoplasmosis, inflammation, tuberculosis, tumors and vascular problems. About 40 percent of lung nodules are cancerous, according to the University of Rochester Medical School. In those cases, the five-year survival rate is 50 percent, but for nodules of a centimeter or less, the survival rate jumps to 80 percent.

Recommendations

“Early detection is critical,” the University of Rochester Medical Center says. Nodules tend to be asymptomatic. Therefore, they require careful technological monitoring. Your doctor will want to compare your diagnostic tests with your previous tests to determine whether your nodule is changing in size, shape or appearance, a sign that it could be cancerous.

Considerations

There is no absolute proof that common pneumonia cannot cause lung nodules, but medical literature contains scant, if any, evidence that it can. One Korean study did find an association, though not a causal connection, between “cryptogenic organizing pneumonia” and lung nodules. But that is a rare and isolated form of pneumonia. Of course, anytime you suspect a health problem, or suspect a cause that is not being addressed by medical professionals, you should discuss your concerns with your doctor.

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