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British Thoracic Society guidelines for the investigation and management of pulmonary nodules

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Last updated:1st Aug 2015

The detection of pulmonary nodules is common. In populations undergoing CTscreening and at high risk of lung cancer, nodules are detected in 20–50% of individuals, depending on the size of the cut-off point for reporting a nodule. The majority of these nodules are small and benign but some will be malignant and, according to the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), effective treatment will result in a reduction in mortality. It is important to have clear guidance about the most effective way to manage these nodules and an assessment of how data from screening studies can be used to guide the approach on other populations and individuals. It is acknowledged that the majority of the evidence reviewed for this guideline comes from countries outside the UK and that there are potentially important differences in populations as a result of their geographical location.

The aim of this guideline is therefore to provide comprehensive recommendations for the management of pulmonary nodules in the UK according to the definitions given above.

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