Benign Tumors

What is a benign lung tumor?

A tumor, or abnormal growth in the lungs, is the result of abnormal cells or cell death in lung tissue, or in the airways leading to the lungs. This can occur if the cells divide too rapidly or do not die off normally.

Small growths in the lungs -- those 3 cm or less in diameter -- are called pulmonary nodules. A growth larger than 3 centimeters in diameter is called a mass.

What are the risks?

Benign lung tumors are not cancerous and will not spread beyond the lungs. These tumors grow slowly or may even stop growing altogether, or even shrink. They are typically not life-threatening and usually do not need to be removed, but in some cases they can expand and push against nearby tissues, blood vessels or nerves.

Benign tumors can make the patient more susceptible to the patient to pneumonia, collapsed lungs, and coughing up of blood.

What is the treatment for benign lung tumors?

Because benign lung tumors are not typically life-threatening, your doctor may decide to monitor your condition. If the tumor is growing or otherwise problematic, your doctor may recommend surgical removal.

For the surgery, you will be placed under general anesthesia, and your surgeon will create an incision on the side of the chest to remove the tumor. The amount of lung removed depends on the size and location of the tumor. Following surgery, you’ll stay in the hospital for about 4 to 7 days before being released to continue to recover at home.