Pure GGO repeat scans


Dear Dr. West and other contributing physicians,

I am a now 32 year old male. 2 years ago at 30 years of age in early March 2012 a 4mm pure GGO was discovered in my right lower lobe of the lung using a CT scan. No other symptoms were discovered (no lymphadenopathy, pleural effusion, coughing, etc.). Later that year in October, I did a repeat scan and the 4 mm pure GGO was still there, with quote: “absolutely no change whatsoever” and no symptoms, either. My pulmonologist said that the “likelihood that this represents cancer is exceedingly small”. However, he recommended a follow-up (3rd) CT scan in 1.6 years to complete the follow-up.

Thank you VERY much for having posted all the great analysis on GGOs. My questions are as follows:

1) The fact that the GGO is still there… that’s a bad thing right? i.e. the fact that the GGO is still there points to nascent cancer?

2) What other diseases could this finding represent? I have absolutely no symptoms associated with any lung disease, so does this fact make it more likely that the GGO represents nascent lung cancer?

3) Aren’t two scans enough? My young age and coupled with the fact that there is absolutely no change whatsoever in the GGO and that cancer is exceedingly unlikely, wouldn’t the third CT scan seem superfluous?

4) Moreover, wouldn’t a 3rd CT scan increase my chance of cancer from exposure to X-rays (ionizing radiation)?

Thank you for any insight you may provide me with!! Note: I’m not asking for medical advice on my case, regardless of how these questions are answered, I will get my 3rd scan anyway :-)


Posts: 147

GRACE Community Outreach Team

As Dr. West said in your previous thread two years ago, the chance that you have lung cancer at age 30, although not unheard of, is extremely small. Add to that the fact that the nodule did not grow over a seven month period, and those chances diminish even more.

That being said, it is fairly normal practice to rescan but lengthen the scan interval. If there is no change at that point, then it either isn’t cancer or on the small chance it is, the cancer is so indolent as to be unlikely to cause a problem. The danger of the radiation from the scan causing cancer is extremely slight.

Forum moderator

In reply to by Jim C GRACE Co…

Posts: 6

Hi, I am sorry for double-posting. I realized now that I asked the same question about 2 years ago and must not have seen the response back then. In any case, thanks again for the informative website!!

In reply to by awaitingdx

Posts: 6


I’m a 36 yr. old male. I have no respiratory issues.

After the initial January 2012 scan finding the 4 mm pure GGO in my right lower lobe, the 2 subsequent follow-up scans (on 10/12 and 9/14) showed the GGO to be stable, no change whatsoever. Based on these results, on 9/14 the pulmonologist recommended no follow-up is needed based on the 2014 ACCP guideline stating:

“6.5.1. In the individual with a nonsolid (pure
ground glass) nodule measuring _ 5 mm in diameter,
we suggest no further evaluation (Grade 2C).”

Now 6 years after the initial scan (1/12) and roughly 3.5 years after the final scan (9/14), I asked simply for confirmation that nothing further needs to be done with this. The doctor responded that the recommendation cited above is 2C and therefore not based on very solid data. So he now suggests doing a CT scan again just to be cautious and make sure it’s not a rare very slow growing nodule.

1) Does it make sense to do this scan given the radiation exposure? It would be my 4th in 6 years.

2) Could this still be cancer even though I did a 2.5 year follow-up and all was reportedly stable?

3) Should I get the scan?

Thanks for your help!