As you might suspect, there are features of different spolitary pulmonary nodules (SPNs) that makes us more or less suspicious for cancer. The first is the size of the nodule. Looking at multiple series of SPNs, the likelihood of cancer among nodules that measured under 5 mm is generally in the 0-1% range. Nodules in the 5-10 mm range have been found to be cancer in up to about about 28% of cases, with most studies showing the risk of cancer in this range to be one in four or five.
Among the many variables that can potentially be helpful in predicting outcomes after surgery are some imaging results. One of these is cavitation, or hollowing out of the inside of some part of the tumor. Although most clinicians think of this as a feature of squamous cancers, it can also be seen with adenocarcinomas and other histologies less frequently.
Beyond Stage & Tumor Size: More Pathology Variables Associated with Risk of Recurrence after Surgery
The decision about pursuing post-operative treatment is often difficult and requires carefully weighing the risks of treatment with potentially challenging and even dangerous chemotherapy against the potential to eradicate micrometastases and actually lead some people to be cured who otherwise wouldn't be. It's important to remember that some people are already cured, while others won't be cured even with treatment.
In light of a growing focus on the issue of lung cancer in never-smokers, it makes sense to try to identify potential causes in this population. Among the leading candidates as a cause of lung cancer in never-smokers is secondhand, or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure.