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What is a lung cancer without a tumor?

Guest marilyn_lean

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Guest marilyn_lean

My doctor says I have stage IV NSCL adenocarcinoma without a tumor. No cancer showed on any xrays, MRI's or CT scans, but there were cancer cells found on biopsy. Has anyone heard of this kind of cancer? Why don't I have the tumor that I read about? Please help!

New to this board. Am being treated with Taxol and Carboplatin, am feeling good except being tired.

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Welcome Marilyn,

I dont know the answer to your question however I am sure someone here knows..You may want to post your question in the "ask the experts" forums as well..I know they will have the answers for you..

In the meantime welcome to our community...

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I am not a Dr, but it sounds suspicous. If there is not evidence of an external met I don't see how it could be stage IV. Maybe it is SCLC, and it is extensive (both sides of chest, distant lymph nodes or mets), but that doesn't make sense cause the first line chemo is usually cisplatin or carboplatin with VP-16 (etoposide) sometimes cisplatin/CPT-11

I would get a 2nd opinion at a cancer center. Below is a place to start


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Dear Marilyn,

Oh, this has to be very unsettling for you. I am not a Doctor, and I also suggest you post this question to the Ask The Experts Forum.

There is something called ACUP. It means Adenocarcinoma with Unknown Primary. And most people diagnosed with ACUP are later found to have Non Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC).

Another possibility is that your cancer is like mine. Mine makes solid, semi-solid, and non-solid lesions. The non-solid means there is not frank "tumor", just cancer cells that follow along the existing architecture of the lung.

No matter what you have I sincerely hope that your current chemo knocks it out completely.

Having said all of that, I strongly urge you to make an appointment with a major cancer center for evaluation/second opinion. They may have means for detecting disease that will give you definitive answers.

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Welcome Marilyn:

While I can't answer your question regarding cancer with no apparent tumor; I did want to welcome you. I too was treated with taxol/carboplatin. It's good that you're handling it well.

Houston is home to the M D Anderson Cancer Institute; if anybody knows the answers to your questions, I would think someone there would. I ended up at MD Anderson's here in Orlando.

Again welcome and Godspeed on your recovery

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Guest marilyn_lean

I've added some of that information to my profile. About the biopsy 1/2005: what I was told is that there were "samples" taken. My copy of the pathology report diagnosed me as "poorly differentiated non-small cell carcinoma consistent with adencarcinoma with prominent angiolymphatic invasion involving fragments of pulmonary parenchyma." The cytopathology report was negative for bronchial lavage.

(All I remember at the time was that I couldn't breath without massive oxygen and that, (at 105 lbs. and unconscious), I fought off several docs trying to put a tube down my throat!) I was bad :twisted: !

To Fay A., What did they call your cancer, does it have a name? You must have had a tumor since you had surgery and radiation. I was told my only option is chemo.

My oncologist is not very good on explaining what I have, or anything else. I get no support from him, and I agree that I should get a second opinion. He said he would “make me comfortableâ€

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Please go to MD Anderson or another well know cancer facility!

My doctors were unsure of what was going on with me in the original stages.. first I was CUP, then Adeno Lung.. maybe, then stage IV adeno LC, they really didn't know and kept saying we've never seen anything like this before. I had an HMO and wasn't allowed a 2nd opinion (long story) and I was given several treatments and surgeries that were inappropriate. I finally got my 2nd opinion at a large cancer center where they have seen everything and was given the correct treatment and that was 3 years ago.

If your doc isn't explaining things well, things don't make sense to you, and he isn't telling you how to fight this... something is wrong!! If you have the option go to another hospital. You only get one chance at first line treatment and you owe it to yourself to do everything you can.

Please seek another opinion... and let us know how it goes. We CARE!

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Glad you posted the full path reports to the folks over at Ask The Experts.

Ground glass opacities (AKA GGOs) are a "Hallmark" of Bronchioloalveolar Carcinoma...AKA BAC or Adeno with BAC Features. If GGOs occur in other forms of Lung Cancer I am not aware of it, but that does't mean they don't.

My GGOs on biopsy are non-solid lesions, meaning that the cancer cells are present and are growing along the existing alveoli of the lung. They refer to this as "Lepidic Growth".


I, too, have(had) areas of calcification as you've described, both in the lung and arteries, etc. And I, too, am a Stage IV.

I know that the Folks at Ask The Experts can explain this in much more depth and much more clearly than I.

Hope the info is helpful.

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