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Fluid in right lung


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Well we finally know when treatment is going to start. Dads chemo and radiation are scheduled to start on 12/26/07. He had a brain MRI and CT scan last Friday and got those results back today. After nothing but testing for the last 4 months his ct scan showed no significant change in the size of the tumor in his right lung, and only slight growth in the lymph nodes. The brain MRI came back clean. PRAISE THE LORD!!!! The only new thing from this CT was that there is fluid in the right lung now. They wanted to do another needle biopsy to see if there was cancer cells in the fluid, but dad refused. He says he has been tested enough, that he just wants to start treament. The nurse told my mom that if there was cancer in the fluid that it meant that dads cancer would be considered incurable. Does that mean that he would be restaged to IV and that surgery would no longer be an option after treatment? Does this fluid go away on its on or will it have to be drained?? Is this just part of the progression of the disease? I have noticed that dad has been coughing and clearing his throat somewhat more since Thanksgiving, could this be why?

I am just so relieved that treatment is going to finally begin. Mom forgot to ask the type of chemo, as soon as I know I will fill in dads profile. The chemo is supposed to only take an hour and is not supposed to make him very sick, mainly just fatigued. I am thankful that he will at least be able to enjoy eating Christmas dinner. He loves his shrimp, oysters, and ham. (Don't we all!!!)

I hope all of my LCSC extended family has a blessed holiday season.


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Hi, Teresa:

From your description and from what the nurse said, I believe the fluid is not IN the lung, but in the space between the lung and the chest wall (the "pleural space"). A collection of fluid there is called a pleural effusion, and if the amount of fluid is large, it can prevent the lung from expanding sufficiently, leading to shortness of breath. It can be caused by the cancer, by infection, or a number of other things. Look through these two articles in OncTalk -- they should answer most of your questions:

http://onctalk.com/2007/03/17/intro-to- ... effusions/


I see your dad is currently staged IIIA. If he is found to have a malignant pleural effusion (MPE), he would be staged IIIB according to the current staging guidelines (that's my situation as you can see from my profile). The "incurable" aspect doesn't really cause me any concern -- I expect to handle this as a chronic condition along with some other incurable things I've been dealing with for years.

Best wishes and Aloha,


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I just want to concur with what Ned said, that it sounds like a pleural effusion. Fluid *in* the lung would be a pneumonia, which my mom had after surgery. I encourage you to ask the doctor, though. Sometimes they forget that it's a foreign language to us when our family members are newly diagnosed.

I remember when my mom was being treated emergently for a blood clot in her lung, I was horrified to hear the nurses say that she had a pulmonary embolism. I was like, oh no, not that, too!? It's the same thing, turns out. :roll:

Good luck with the rest of it, and I know what a relief it is to feel like a plan is in place.

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