Women who don't have BRCA mutations could have other high-risk genes that affect treatment choices
by mebenz31 on Wed Mar 07, 2012 02:51 AM
I have been posting on CC for 3 years when my Dad was dx with pancreatic cancer so I am unfamiliar with lung cancer and need some help. My s-i-l was in the hospital today for a procedure (hernia) when they discovered a 4 cm mass on her lung which they say is most likely cancer.Where do we start? What testing should be done? She is 66yo,smoked for 40 years but quit 2 years ago, I'm sure that is a factor. I just don't know what direction to go in, any help would be appreciated. It is my husbands only sister and his father died of bladder cancer in 2004, we don't want to make the same mistakes we made in the past.
by dsthomps on Wed Mar 07, 2012 03:12 AM
I'm no doctor, but my husband was diagnosed with lung cancer last spring. Your s-i-l will be in my prayers. I would recommend two websites for more information. One is called cancertutor.com , and the other is called cancerdefeated.com . They aren't conventional medical sites, but they may give some hope that conventional medicine can't if she is actually diagnosed with lung cancer.
For my husband his cancer wasn't diagnosed until they biopsied it in surgery, but they had done a CAT scan, a bronchoscopy, and a PET scan trying to diagnose it before the surgery.
I hope this helps.
by thebyrdsfriend on Wed Mar 07, 2012 01:02 PM
Hi, I'm so sorry you have to travel this cancer path again. My prayers are with you and your sister-in-law. First she should see a thoracic surgeon. He will then do a biopsy, and there are a few ways to do this. I wasn't diagnosed with my lung cancer until I had my 3rd biopsy, because doctors never thought the problems I was having was lung cancer. Anyway, I went to a university/teaching hospital. I'm a firm believer in them, as they have doctors who specialize in just your type of cancer. My thoracic surgeon only dealt with lungs. So, the thoracic surgeon is also the doctor who will stage the cancer, and find out if it is the primary. After it is staged, then an oncologist will be used. At the cancer center I went to they had what they called a "tumor board" that would meet and they all discussed their cases together. It consisted of the thoracic surgeon, oncologist, pathologist, radiologist, oncology nurse, and nurse practitioner. It is such a great team, and they all decide the course of action to take.
The reason lung cancer is usually not found until late stage is because it doesn't show symptoms until then. I was staged 3a, and thought I was having heart problems. You can click on my name and read what all I had to go through just to get diagnosed. I ended up having my upper right lung removed, and then chemo. I was so very thankful I qualified for the lobectomy. That, as lung cancer patients, is the best course of action. But, we are the new statistics right now. Everything you will read in the stats were taken 10-15 years ago. So, don't fret about a diagnosis. We are living YEARS with cancer, and I've already out-lived the stats given for my stage and type of lung cancer. I've been cancer free longer than the stats said I would even survive. So, continue to have positive thoughts for your sister-in-law, and keep your faith and hope alive.
Take care, and let us know how things progress, God Bless you, Byrd
by mebenz31 on Thu Mar 08, 2012 01:39 AM
Thank you both for answering my post. We met with the surgeon today who will do all the testing to determine stage, type, etc. He was so nice and answered all our questions, he made us feel as though he would do his best, he stayed with us until all our questions were answered.... so refreshing!As I stated she is an ex-smoker( 2 years) and her mass is 4cm located close to her heart with 1 node possibly involved. I guess we will find out more after testing. Are some lung cancers worse than others? It's all new to me...Congratulations Byrd on your cancer-free status, and dsthomps wishing you continued blessings, I will keep in touch, thanks again for the information it tells me we are headed in the right direction.
by thebyrdsfriend on Thu Mar 08, 2012 01:54 PM
Yes, there are some lung cancers worse than others. Isn't it nice to have a surgeon who takes time with you, doesn't rush you, and answers all questions? My husband and I felt just like you all do about my thoracic surgeon. Actually, we felt that way about everyone we dealt with at the cancer center. They all made us feel like they not only cared about us, but that we were truly a person, not just a patient. I can't say anything better about the cancer care center in Milwaukee at Foredtert. From the nursers who took blood samples, the ct personel, to the people at the front desk, they all had a compassion I'd never seen or experienced before. I certainly never had doctors get so close and involved making me feel like I was their top priority.
I think adenocarcinoma is the most common form of lung cancer. It is a form of non small cell lung cancer. There is also squamish cell, oat cell, and BAC (bronchoavelar) in that group. Small cell lung cancer is different, and I don't know much about that except to say my own dad died of that in 1989.
When the biopsy is done, your surgeon will send the sample out for tests to see what type it is. This is when the cancer will be staged too. He/she will also find out what gene mutation it is. There are many types of this too, including KRAS, EGFR, ALK, and a few more that are pretty rare and I don't know what they are right now. Anyway, knowing the type of lung cancer, stage, and mutation also helps determine what chemo is going to be used. Radiation may also be a treatment, depending on the staging. But, taking out the part of the lung which is diseased is the option that is the most desirable, then chemo and radiation if needed.
Our thoracic surgeon wasn't all rainbows and unicorns, but he wasn't a debbie downer either. Actually the oncology nurse told us in the get go, "don't ask a question you really don't want an answer to, because he'll be straight up with you." Well, I'm all for all the knowledge I can get, and I'm glad he was so honest. But, again, a doctor can be honest and compassionate at the same time. After all was said and done, he was so very pleased with my prognosis. It all went so very much better than he had anticipated. But, he always gave us hope, and he certainly was a pillar of strength to us. That, my dear is what I wish for you and your family.
Thanks for your congratulations. I wish it right back at you!! I'll keep you all in my prayers, and pray all goes as well for you as it did for my husband and I.
Peace to you, Byrd
by mebenz31 on Fri Mar 09, 2012 03:54 AM
Thanks again for replying, Definitely different than pc, so many types,options, treatments. I am so used to the doom and gloom. I so happy for you it sounds as though you are doing great. As far as my family I think we are due for some good results. I am hoping finding it early will be a major factor and I believe we will get a second opinion to keep everything in check. You are a great source of inspiration, I hope all continues to go well for you.
by dsthomps on Fri Mar 09, 2012 03:23 PM
We'll continue to pray you get good news about this. There isn't usually a lot of good news about lung cancer from conventional doctors, but fortunately, the doctors aren't God. He is the great physician, and our times are in his hands.
We'll be wanting to hear what you find out.
by mebenz31 on Sat Mar 10, 2012 02:39 AM
by chuck1943 on Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:17 PM
by mebenz31 on Mon Mar 12, 2012 12:30 AM
Thanks so much Chuck.... yeah the battle never ends, just when you think you are getting on with your life it rears it ugly head again. So we've been thru bladder, pancreatic and now possible lung cancer, I'm starting to think I should just go to medical school. Anyway I am so sad to hear about Rick I know how close you two got, I hope with Gods grace he can pull out of this. We still have to meet up, we are only about 15 miles apart, we could either laugh or cry together..... your choice.
When you track a discussion, you will get notified by e-mail if anyone else posts a new message on this discussion. Are you sure you want to track this discussion?
If you stop tracking this discussion, you will no longer get notified by e-mail if anyone else posts a new message on this discussion. Are you sure you want to stop tracking this discussion?
We care about your feedback. Let us know how we can improve your CancerCompass experience.