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Fairmont, MN
A 66-year-old male asked:

I'm a vietnam veteran with many angent orange problems. i had a lung x-ray 6 years ago with calcified nodules now i have more nodules. could this be cancer?

1 doctor answer3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Joseph Woods
Pathology 30 years experience
Maybe/likely not.: While nodules, even calcified ones can possibly be cancer, they are more likely to be something else. Calcified nodules are likely to be associated with a chronic phase of tuberculosis that may have infected you while you were in an endemic area, like vietnam, but your immune sysytem had overcome without much symptoms or signs, but left these nodules, known as the ghon complex. Check w/ your dr.
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Dr. Ed Friedlander
Pathology 46 years experience
Here in Kansas the majority of people have some old calcified nodules / granulomas where we have walled off the histoplasmosis organisms that are common here. The lesions from six years ago aren't cancer or you'd know. If the newly-found lesions are similar, the improved methods of imaging may simply have found them. If your physician is not worried, appreciate them as evidence of your body's successful fight against TB or fungal disease.
Sep 13, 2012
Dr. Joseph Woods
Pathology 30 years experience
Provided original answer
Dr. Friedlander's point is very well taken. This is another very strong possibility, especially if one lives in the midwest, in the Ohio and Mississippi river valleys. Sooner or later, if you happen to live there long enough, you will be exposed to this, with some evidence of prior infection, like nodules/granulomas, etc..
Sep 14, 2012
Dr. Joseph Woods
Pathology 30 years experience
Provided original answer
It is also important to add that Histoplasmosis and Tuberculosis look a lot like each other, emphasizing again that this is another very strong possibility.
Sep 14, 2012
Last updated Jun 20, 2015

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