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Thread: Cancer diagnosis following pleural effusion

  1. #1

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  2. #2
    Administrator Top User pbj11's Avatar
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    Hi Rune,

    I'm sorry about what is happening in your household, even though you're not fond of this man. The fact that you're seeking information for the sake of your mother is a good thing.

    Without more information, I have no clue why they are doing surgery. Have they found more than one mass?

    Surgery can be done for diagnostic purposes when all other methods fail. My husband had a VATS wedge section biopsy for his firm diagnosis. Makes me wonder if they didn't get enough cancer cells from the fluid to make a determination.

    A two month timeline sounds pretty dire and strikes me more as SCLC, but that's just a total guess.

    If you can get other information, we might be able to help more.

    PBJ
    Husband diagnosed with NSCLC Stage IV in 3/2005. Fought & lived over 2 1/2 years with multiple lines of treatment.

    Post describing our journey: http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.ph...er=asc&start=0

    Left my embrace to live with our Heavenly Father in October of 2007 and now breathes with ease forever. I will miss this gentle, giving soul with the easy smile for the rest of my days, but have faith we will be together again. He's just getting a little break from me!

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  4. #4
    Administrator Top User pbj11's Avatar
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    Hi again,

    Technically, malignant pleural effusion in a NSCLC scenario is Stage IV. Due to this having "spread" (metastasized) in this way, it is doubtful that surgery is an option, as it has likely invaded his blood stream or possibly his lymph system too.

    Systemic chemo treatment would likely be suggested as well as possible radiation, unless someone is thinking way outside of the box with surgery.

    They still need to determine what the masses in his abdomen are too. If those are distant metastasis, his cancer is pretty advanced.

    Good health will equal a better chance at longer survival times, but the goal will likely be buying time and not a cure.

    Is a pulmonologist currently in charge of his care? I would think a PET scan would be the next logical step. Have they done a brain MRI?

    At this point, both you and I are blindly guessing and need to wait for more tests and doctors to look at him. Slow down a bit and see what develops after he sees a specialist.

    Let us know.

    God bless,
    PBJ
    Husband diagnosed with NSCLC Stage IV in 3/2005. Fought & lived over 2 1/2 years with multiple lines of treatment.

    Post describing our journey: http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.ph...er=asc&start=0

    Left my embrace to live with our Heavenly Father in October of 2007 and now breathes with ease forever. I will miss this gentle, giving soul with the easy smile for the rest of my days, but have faith we will be together again. He's just getting a little break from me!

  5. #5
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    I think PBJ has hit it right on. Speaking totally from the cuff here as this is all new to me, my wife never showed any symptoms until she developed pneumonia a little over a month ago, then wham! Stage IV NSCLC. If a doctor has actually told your Mom's husband that he has 2 months to live, I think it is a bit unprofessional- especially since a full diagnosis hasn't been established. I point blank asked my wife's doctor how long and he said he wasn't even going to discuss matters like that since no treatment had even been started at the time.
    I hope your mom's hubby will be okay and will be adding your family to my prayers.
    Regards,
    Ken

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  7. #7
    Administrator Top User pbj11's Avatar
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    Lung cancer is one of the 'silent' cancers. By the time symptoms show up, most patients are already at late stage. A lucky few will have it detected by accident in early stages. Even then, lung cancer has a real propensity for recurrence.

    Bouts of pneumonia and bronchitis are often pre-cursors to lung cancer actually developing.

    As for smoking, over 15% of never smokers are among newly diagnosed cases of lung cancer every year and new data shows that as many as 80% of new diagnoses are for never smokers or people who quit smoking, sometimes decades earlier. They are now finding evidence that this can and does run in families, beyond familial smoking habits.

    It's a brutal wake up call. My husband had quit smoking 23 years before his diagnosis. He was hunky-dory and passed a treadmill stress test about a month and a half before he suddenly was having difficulty breathing and started coughing up bloody sputum.

    Most people feel that if they don't smoke or quit smoking, they've dodged that particular bullet. They are stunned when it knocks on their door. I know we were. Naturally your odds are reduced greatly by never smoking or quitting, but there is some irreversible DNA damage from smoking.

    It's one vicious cancer that is very resistant to a 'cure.' They don't even use the term remission in lung cancer and only call it NED (no evidence of disease) because it comes back so easily.

    It's all about trying to stay ahead of it. That's why you see most people telling others to enjoy the time and make good memories with a loved one. Lung cancer isn't the largest cancer killer in the world for no reason.

    More people will die from Lung cancer this year than:
    breast cancer
    prostate cancer
    colon cancer
    liver cancer
    kidney cancer
    melanoma.....combined.

    Lung cancer will kill three times as many men as prostate cancer this year.

    Lung cancer will kill nearly twice as many women as breast cancer this year.

    The awareness ribbon is clear because it's symbolic for the invisible disease that nobody knows much about, talks about, and has low research funding.

    Uh-oh. I've gone and got my soap box out again.

    Sorry guys. I went and told you far more than you probably wanted to ever hear. As you can see, I'm pretty passionate about this monster that took my husband and the father of my children away.

    Rune, let your mother know that, although their life is forever changed, there will still be good times. Her partner's reaction is not at all uncommon for one hearing this news. Who can blame him? Once all the testing is over and he gets onto a treatment plan, things will settle down. Always be aware that things can change rapidly with this type of cancer. There will be many ups and downs. It's best to be realistic, but never give up hope. Where there is life, there is hope. God, laughter, and hope in good doses will see your family through this journey.

    God bless and sorry I digressed.

    PBJ
    Husband diagnosed with NSCLC Stage IV in 3/2005. Fought & lived over 2 1/2 years with multiple lines of treatment.

    Post describing our journey: http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.ph...er=asc&start=0

    Left my embrace to live with our Heavenly Father in October of 2007 and now breathes with ease forever. I will miss this gentle, giving soul with the easy smile for the rest of my days, but have faith we will be together again. He's just getting a little break from me!

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  9. #9
    Top User maryaz's Avatar
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    RuneGuardian; First of all, they need to find out just exactly what the Stage of the cancer is and what the options are. I personally feel that the final decision on whether to have treatments or not, or what treatments, is up to the patient. However, only after being completely informed and understanding what is going on. There has not been enough clear information provided yet.

    To identify most cancers it needs a biopsy. You have spent a lot of time guessing. I do a lot of googling and looking on the Internet. I really like cancer.gov website. You should not be looking there before you get some knowledge of what is going on. There is a waiting period and it causes a lot of anxiety. It is the way it is with Lung Cancer.

    Let us know what more you find out, from the doctors. Hope it is treatable.
    Husband (year of birth 1941) dx'd 2008 NSCLC - Squamous Cell Carcinoma
    Chemo and Radiation Treatments together. Allergic reaction to Taxol & Taxotere.
    The Story 2008 to 1/2011: http://www.cancerforums.net/about9079.html

    2010/2011: Returned & spread to lower lumbar bone/marrow. Stage 4.
    Chemo & Radiation together. Allergic reaction to Erbitux. Chemo was only Navelbine.
    The Story continues 2/2011: Story continues 2/2011: http://tinyurl.com/68qpmym

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  11. #11
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    Rune, please keep your chin up!
    People are alot stronger than you may be giving them credit for. It sucks for everyone to be in this situation. The best advice I could give to anyone is to show love and compassion and be there for them. You may be surprised how situations like this can actually draw people closer together. If the prognosis is grim, your mom (as well as her hubby) will need your support in a time when they feel totally helpless. I am sure there is a flood of emotions running through your mind right now and that is totally normal. It is okay to cry, vent and even laugh at a time like this. Draw close to your mom. She will need you more than ever.
    Sending well wishes and good thoughts your way.
    Regards,
    Ken

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  13. #13
    Administrator Top User pbj11's Avatar
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    Rune,

    I know it seems crazy to do surgery to determine what is happening. I sure took it that way, but there was no other way for a biopsy to be done on my husband....or so I thought at the time. I just hated to see him recover on top of the cancer diagnosis and head into chemo.

    You do what you need to do to stay the course. You must take care of yourself if you're going to be of any use to your Mom and her partner. You are dealing with a possible cancer diagnosis and the shock of hearing it while trying to protect your Mom. I hear what your saying about her emotions. She may want to go on an anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication to cope better. I hate to push pills, but it's become a sad fact of life for me as I didn't pull out of the depression like I thought I would. I'm strong as heck and it got to me after I lost my husband, so if she's more on the emotional side, this could be rough. Let's hope she rallies and pulls it together.

    I also know you don't much care for this man, so it's a real double edged sword for you. I get it. I have kids too, so know how they react. A parent/child relationship is enough of a balancing act in good times, much less when you toss so much more into the mix. You're doing a good job. Just posting here gives you a chance to get those feelings out and help you find a good place to balance yourself.

    Hang in there. We're always open.

    PBJ
    Husband diagnosed with NSCLC Stage IV in 3/2005. Fought & lived over 2 1/2 years with multiple lines of treatment.

    Post describing our journey: http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.ph...er=asc&start=0

    Left my embrace to live with our Heavenly Father in October of 2007 and now breathes with ease forever. I will miss this gentle, giving soul with the easy smile for the rest of my days, but have faith we will be together again. He's just getting a little break from me!

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    Sounds like great new to me! Keep us posted on his progress and you as well.
    Regards,
    Ken

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  17. #17
    Administrator Top User pbj11's Avatar
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    Hi Rune,

    This is going to be short and I'm sorry I haven't been around much. I've been extra busy in my own life and haven't had much time to post here.

    The basic reason they won't do surgery is because he has multiple spots. It's likely that he is later staged, depending on where the lesions are located. Some people are considered Stage IV (under the old staging system, that is still pretty much in use) if they have another tumor in the same lung. They will rarely do surgery in those cases as the nature of this cancer is to grow and metastasize too much. Surgery is of little value.

    I'll pop back when I catch my breath and get more time.

    God bless and hang in there. I hope your Mom is doing okay.

    PBJ
    Husband diagnosed with NSCLC Stage IV in 3/2005. Fought & lived over 2 1/2 years with multiple lines of treatment.

    Post describing our journey: http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.ph...er=asc&start=0

    Left my embrace to live with our Heavenly Father in October of 2007 and now breathes with ease forever. I will miss this gentle, giving soul with the easy smile for the rest of my days, but have faith we will be together again. He's just getting a little break from me!

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  19. #19
    Administrator Top User pbj11's Avatar
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    Rune,

    Patients whose cancer remains confined to the chest/lung area tend to have longer survival times compared to those whose cancer has metastasized to more distant sites. (We are talking months, not in terms of years between the two.)

    You were correct in your other post to Petal (I think) that any late stage cancer is not a cause for celebration. They are all nasty, but lung cancer and a couple of others have bad survival rates due to them being caught typically at later stages.

    As far as his choice to do treatment or not, that is strictly his call. It's tough on the family members as they can have input, but the ultimate decision is his to make.

    As far as staging goes, I believe it is more about location and metastasis than size. I'd have to think about that one though. I've forgotten so much over the years. I know under 3 cm is a nodule, while over 3 cm is a mass.

    Take care and stand strong. Glad to hear your Mom is hanging in there. She's likely walking around in a fog. Make sure she is alert and with it enough to be driving.

    God bless,
    PBJ
    Husband diagnosed with NSCLC Stage IV in 3/2005. Fought & lived over 2 1/2 years with multiple lines of treatment.

    Post describing our journey: http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.ph...er=asc&start=0

    Left my embrace to live with our Heavenly Father in October of 2007 and now breathes with ease forever. I will miss this gentle, giving soul with the easy smile for the rest of my days, but have faith we will be together again. He's just getting a little break from me!

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