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question about surgery


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I went with Mom for her 2 week follow up after her last chemo treatment. Her onc had presented her case to a surgeon, who thinks that surgery would be a good option for Mom. Her PET showed that there is still a lesion, but that it isn't taking up any dye. However, as our onc explained it, the PET isn't completely sensitive or specific, so there could be some cancer cells remaining in the primary tumor that could rear their ugly heads down the road.

THe surgery would be a wedge resection, so less radical than some other options.

I guess I wonder about the logic - I know there could be cells "hiding" in the primary tumor, but couldn't there also be cells "hiding" in her nodes, too? In which case she's undergone surgery only to have the cancer come back from somewhere else.

I guess I'm thinking (and Mom agrees) that lung surgery is a pretty big deal for an 83 year old. She did so well throughout chemo and radiation, it would be a shame to go throug surgery and have some complication.

I don't know - any insight??

How traumatic is a wedge resection?? Our oncologist said she didn't have any hard evidence that the surgery would benefit mom's survival, none to argue against it, either.

We have an appointment in 2 weeks with the surgeon which will be helpful, but in the meantime I thought I'd get some of your opinions

thanks for listening


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That sounds like good news. After I had chemo and radiation to my tumor it had shrunk but not disappeared. After surgery I asked about it and the doctor told me pathology just found scar tissue. I hope that is true with your Mom too if she decides on this option.

Donna G

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That is a hard call. It is always a good sign when they want to operate as so many would jump at the chance if they were offered it.

Now you have her age to deal with. My husband had the wedge section. If she decides to go with it see if they could give her a VATS (video assisted) which is less advasive then normal surgery(only two small incisions) and a faster recovery. As long as they don't spread her ribs as that could prove to be painful. But that would happen in regular surgery also.

I can't tell you what she should do. But if it was my mom, I would go for it. I am sure you would be there every inch the way and her recovery would be so much easier having someone there for her.

Good luck with whatever you decide. You may want to go for a second opinion just to see the input another Onochologist has to offer.


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Hi Jen, I agree this is tough decision. Your mom just wrapped up treatment too so she is bound to be tired out. I wonder if she could delay surgery a few months while she heals/thinks about it? You might want to run this by our Dr. West at www.onctalk.com

All I can add is that my Aunt was dx'd with breast cancer at age 82. She had surgery and they scraped her ribs, removed lymph nodes ect, but she refused follow up chemo and radiation. She will be turning 100 this coming September. :)

Best of luck to you and your Mom.


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