What Can Cause Spots on the Lungs?

There are many health issues that can cause patients to worry and cancer is definitely one of them. While taking an x-ray at the doctor’s office, many people have found that they have a spot on their lung, but what exactly does this mean? Spots on the lungs are also known as solitary pulmonary nodules (SPN) and may be an early warning sign of lung cancer, but in most cases they are not cancerous. The best way to confirm this is with a chest x-ray that can be performed by your physician.

Popular Causes of Spots

Spots on the lungs are usually caused by bacterial infections like meningitis, micro bacterial infections like tuberculosis, inflammation or a tumour known as Hamartoma. Granulomas, also known as scarring marks, are one of the more common causes of lung spots; granulomas can also be caused by fungal infections or even TB (tuberculosis).


Other causes of spots on the lungs can include a pulmonary abscess or even pneumonia. Factors that might increase the risk of spots on the lungs include being over the age of 35, having a history of cancer in the family, being exposes to asbestos, or smoking cigarettes regularly.

The Classification of Spots

If the nodule is less than 3 centimeters in diameter, it is called a spot. If it’s larger than 3 centimeters in diameter, it is referred to as a mass. Usually, smaller nodules are more likely to be benign than larger nodules; benign lung nodules are responsible for 60% of “spots” seen on a lung x-ray. A nodule is more likely to be benign if you are young (less than 35 years), if you are a non-smoker, have not worked in occupations that raise the risk of lung cancer, nodule is slow growing or grows very rapidly and has a smooth and regular appearance and if you do not have a history of cancer in the past.

Obtaining a chest x-ray is the only way to know if a spot exist and early detection may lead to early detection of cancer. At this stage, there might not be any symptoms or warning signs of cancer. This will also be the first step in treatment for a cancerous nodule if a spot is detected.  If you smoke, are older than 35, have a family history of cancer and has had exposure to asbestos, you should include a chest x-ray in your annual check-up.

HealthLine.com is a popular resource that offers expert health advice from qualified professionals and experienced contributors. Find out more about spots on the lungs from Healthline.com.

Algene C.

The author is currently taking up law who blogs on her free time.

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