What is the prognosis of malignant solitary pulmonary nodules?

Updated: Aug 22, 2019
  • Author: Pujan H Patel, MD; Chief Editor: Guy W Soo Hoo, MD, MPH  more...
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Answer

Most solitary pulmonary nodules are benign. However, they may represent an early stage of lung cancer. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, accounting for more deaths annually than breast, colon, and prostate cancers combined.

Patients with early lung cancer, when the primary tumor is less than 3 cm in diameter without evidence of lymph node involvement or distant metastasis (stage 1A), have a 5-year survival rate of 70-80%. [1] Therefore, prompt diagnosis and management of early lung cancer manifesting as a solitary pulmonary nodule is the the best chance for cure.


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