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Confusing symptoms. Feedback?


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I have been having problems with a queasy stomach since the beginning of this year. Also shaky and weak when flareup occurs. Ended up having gall bladder removed but problem continued.

Since surgery in May I have lost 20 pounds and have no appetite. Fatigue also an issue.

So what does this have to do with lung cancer, you ask? My doctor sent me last week for CT scan after another stomach episode. No problem with abdomen but scan picked up a mass on my lung. Immediately was sent for another scan of the chest.

Doc called this morning and there is a 4 cm. hard tissue mass in lower right lung. MRI was scheduled right away. Will have on Sunday.

My question...Does anyone have any experience that might tie the ongoing stomach issues to what is going on in the lung? If these are two different things then I'm in for a confusing ride. I'm hoping they are related.

Thoughts? Feedback?

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Hi Terry:

Welcome to the board and the best source of help, info and support on the web. I cannot answer your question as to whether any of this is related or not. But please post here after you get the results of your MRI. There will be folks here who will be able to answer your questions better than I. In the meantime, welcome. Good Luck & God Bless


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Hi, terrymac, welcome to the group. I'm another "engineer type" who always attempts to connect 2 or 3 unusual and seemingly unrelated events to a common source. Not just for health issues, but for everything. It may come from my experience as an aircraft accident investigator when I was in the Air Force -- or, on the other hand, maybe I was attracted to the safety field because I already had that tendency. But, as in most things, sometimes I'm right, and sometimes I'm wrong.

It's quite common for cancer patients to develop stomach issues, especially if they've been through a program of chemo. Some of the chemo drugs are quite rough on the digestive system, from one end to the other, and the adverse effects can last long after chemo has been finished. But having stomach problems BEFORE lung cancer surfaces...well, that doesn't sound as likely, but I don't think anyone can say it's impossible. After all, if your lung tumor is 4cm across, then something's been going on in there for a good while, and that could be responsible for your recent weight loss at the least.

May I suggest that you post your question for Dr. Jack West at onctalk.com. He's an internationally known lung cancer expert on the oncology staff of a major Seattle center, and he's very committed to cancer education, to his website, and to answering individual questions from people like you and me. Sometimes he drops in here when he has the time, but you can get a quicker answer (usually within 24 hours) at onctalk.com. A lot of us use the same usernames there as here.

Best wishes and Aloha,


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Hi Terry, I don't know if they are related, but I had stomach issues for about a year before diaginois. I had a real bad gag reflex. Brushing teeth, coughing, etc. Would vomit at the drop of a hat. Then I lost my voice (horesness). I went to the Dr. and he dx. GERD. All made sense. But the chest xray said different. Lung cancer. Chemo was hell for me with vomiting. But now that it's done, I don't have anymore problems with my stomach. Could be a coincedence. Welcome. Sending prayers and hugs, Liz

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Wow! I've never posted in a medical forum before I am truly impressed and grateful for the response.This is obviously a caring community.

I spoke to a doctor friend of mine who told me that the stomach and lung thing are likely unrelated. And when my stomach is acting up my appetite decreases which I guess is pretty normal. Thus ...weight loss. I'd just like to be dealing with one thing rather than two, if you know what I mean.

First thing my doctor asked about was a chest x-ray. Hadn't had one that I could remember since 1999 but apparently there was nothing showing on the 1999 x-ray. Not very conversant in these matters but I guess seeing nothing in '99 and then having a 4 cm. mass show up in 2007 is significant.

I'm scheduled for an MRI tomorrow night at a 24 hour MRI center. Appointment is at 1AM. How strange is that!? Hopefully, will see pulmonologist next week some time. Maybe I'm too dumb to be afraid but I'm really not. Expecting the best but very curious about the whole thing. All transpired over a 3 day period so it has kept me on my toes.

Thanks again for the feedback and support. I'll post results when I get them.

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I hate it that you had the need to look for us but glad you did. Welcome. I have no idea about the connection between the two problems, so I can't help you there. Just glad you caught the LC and now can do something about it. Keep us posted and I'll keep you in my prayers.


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There is a sphincter (a valve) at the bottom of the esophagus. It could be that the mass is making this open up.

My mom had cancer that went to her liver and the Dr said her stomach problems could be related to the sphincter.

I think (and hope) since it is a hard tissue mass it probably is calcifed and less likely malignant

I would ask your Dr if you have any questions

hope it is a benign mass and no complications

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Well I had my MRI on Sunday night (actually Monday morning) at 1AM. I called my doctor to see what the results were and the radiologist indicated that he didn't believe that it was a fatty tumor (which I guess would have been a good thing) and it did not appear to be a cyst (which I also assume would have been a good thing). He was recommending a PET scan for further study of this 4 cm. tissue mass.

I have already had a CT scan and an MRI and the pulmonologist wants to hold off until I see him tomorrow morning before ordering any more tests.

It is really hard to get a read on what the suspicion might be from the MDs at this point. I guess they are reluctant to give any prognosis unless it is definitive. Apparently the only thing that is definitive is a biopsied tissue sample.

I have a great appreciation for those who have had to play this waiting game.

The only sign I've had besides the ongoing stomach issue is that my appetite is not very good and I continue to lose weight, though I try to keep the same daily caloric intake even if I'm not so hungry. I've dropped 19 pounds since late May and it continues to creep downward. This morning I was at my lowest weight since high school. Who knows, this could all be coincidental also so it just makes it more confusing.

Thanks again for your concern and feedback.

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"terrymac" ...Apparently the only thing that is definitive is a biopsied tissue sample...

True, not only to confirm the presence of cancer, but also to determine the cell type, which has a bearing on the most effective treatment if it is in fact cancer.

...I continue to lose weight, though I try to keep the same daily caloric intake even if I'm not so hungry. I've dropped 19 pounds since late May and it continues to creep downward...

Without jumping too far ahead, I'll just say that IF it's cancer, simply maintaining the same caloric intake as before probably won't suffice. Cancer causes various changes in the body which cause it to burn calories faster than normal. For years I'd been holding about 15 pounds above what our family doc said was my ideal weight. Then, a few months before my diagnosis, I started losing weight slowly. I felt fine and was delighted that FINALLY my dieting efforts were paying off and looked forward to seeing how happy my doc would be on my next periodic checkup. Well, if you've read my profile (previous message in this thread) you'll know that my next visit with him was not a periodic checkup. My wife started bringing home large quantities of Ensure and its Wal-Mart clone, and at one point in my treatment I needed 3 cans of Ensure Plus (350 calories per can) in addition to my usual meals to keep my weight from dropping way below what was desired. After the chemo started working I was able to cut back on the Ensure and still maintain weight. Now, 14 months after diagnosis, there's still a small amount of activity in the right lung, but I don't need Ensure to maintain weight. A big bowl of ice cream after dinner does the job! If at some point I start to gain weight and have to cut back on my beloved ice cream, then I guess I should take that as good news. :?

I'll be watching for your next update. Aloha,


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Went to see pulmonologist today. He said that he can usually tell what he is dealing with in 90% of his cases just by looking at the scan. In my case, he isn't sure.

He thinks that no matter which option he chooses, whatever it is will need to come out so he has referred me to a thoracic surgeon. Won't see him for another week.

I guess they biopsy during surgery and do whatever they have to do.

That's all I know. Kinda frustrating.

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