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How was YOURS discovered?/POLL


cathyb

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Would you believe my cardiologist found mine? I'd been mentioning a fullness in my neck for almost 2 years but my GP couldn't feel anything. Wally (hubby and true love)made me promise to run it by the cardiologist last fall on my annual checkup. This hero/doc did feel it, ordered a ct of the neck, which by default, picked up a shadow on the lung. He ordered a chest ct scan, then bing, bang, bong, things happened really fast.

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I retired my counseling office Dec 31 and had my annual checkup in June. I was really tired but had been working hard. Chest x-ray nada. I went back to the doctor twice for minor stuff and commented that he's not used to seeing me between checkups but I seemed to be having all this stuff (ear and then back of neck and head pain) going on on the left side of my body. In late August I got a raging infection misdiagnosed by the dentist as herpes out of control. It covered the left side of my mouth practically from nose to chin but healed with antibiotics.

In September I got pneumonia and threw a pleural effusion and was hospitalized after they took 2 litres off the left lung. Doctors' shaking their heads. They saw there were not the amount of white cells they would expect in a pneumonia patient but didn't tell me until I was better, probably because they couldn't find anything on the x-rays or scans. One of my docs came in shaking his head one day and said, "Well, the proof is in the pudding. You're getting better." And I did with IV antibiotics and went home the fifth day. About a week later I got the call that the cytologist found adenocarcinoma cancer cells in the fluid they removed. Follow-up CT and x-ray showed fluid just about gone and PET scan showed light-up "consistent with low level malignancy, infection or inflammation." Cancer yikes but certainly early stage. I'm healthy, no biggie.

So there I was still tired but essentially very healthy. Diagnosed just about one month later with IIIb lung cancer. I still find it hard to believe.

Judy in Key West

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My mom thought she had gall bladder or ulcer syptoms ... tightness in area in the middle of her chest. Pneumonia was found, but gave her antibiotics and told her to return for a recheck. Just started feeling anxious, lightheaded ... she had also just been dx with diabetes, so we assumed it was her blood sugar. Finally on third hospitalization found pleural effusion.

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I had just moved back to Minnesota, doing the packing, unpacking, etc. I had pain in my R chest and R shoulder. I figured I had a pinched nerve in my spine ( I have scoliosis) and called the clinic to see an ortho doc.

They said 50 yrs old, chest pain, come now! On an xray they saw a solid mass up under my collar bone. Then the tests began!!!

Donna G

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mine was found purely by accident....went for routine physical. G.P. at the time was firm believer if there was smoking history he automatically took chest xrays. So he did that after both physicals compared one to the other (a year apart) and BINGO....as they say the rest is history..thats why mine was found so early(2A).

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Mine was found during my yearly PAP exam. My doc alway did a chest X-ray on me because of my family history with lung cancer. She did the X-ray in her office and always had me wait, this time she didn't say all is clear, she said, "Come on back in my office we need to talk!" :roll: My Lung Cancer journey began.

You can read about my Journey in MY STORY. I have the webpage posted below. I encouage EVERYONE to go to MY STORY forum and share your story with everyone.

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I had a light, sporadic cough that would go away for weeks at a time, but didn't seem to be related to anything else (no fever, no cold, etc.)

Several months later, I realized that the cough wasn't as light and that it wasn't going away for as long in between bouts so I finally went to my primary care physician who immediately ordered a chest xray which showed a 5 cm. tumor in my lower right lobe.

She ordered a CT scan for the next day, and it showed enlarged lymph nodes as well (right hilar and mediastinum subcarina). Over the next few days, docs also ordered a bronchoscopy and a PET scan. The bronchoscopy returned squamous cell carcinoma cells from the tumor. The lymph nodes didn't return any cancerous cells, but the PET scan lit up like a Christmas tree in both the right hilar and mediastinum subcarina lymph nodes. :cry:

I was somewhat surprised it was lung cancer (despite being a long-time smoker) as I was thinking emphysema instead (my maternal grandfather, a long-time smoker, had died of emphysema). It wasn't until after my dx that I learned I was further predisposed to lung cancer due to significant hx of cancer on my paternal side.

Carole

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Thank you Cathy for starting such a meaningful post. I know we all have some of our stories here in our signatures. But this chain could be a really helpful one for other newcomers and folks looking here for information on symptoms.

Looking back I realize my symptoms started in March 2007 when I began to have a cough that I just couldn't clear. And I knew it wasn't a normal cough as it couldn't be cleared. And I remember going snowshoeing and skiing in late Feb and early March. And noticed SOB, but just thought I was out of shape. Boy did I have adventures with the chair lifts that year! Quite amusing ones actually, my kids will no longer ride a lift with me, they go ahead of me now and get out of the way REAL FAST. I provided no entertainment when I went skiing this year (on the ski hill anyways!) and disappointed all.

My cough became gradually worse and I noticed in May 2007 that it got worse when sleeping. Later that summer, I was having difficulty sleeping on my side. I was still working and procrastinating going to the doctor hoping and praying that it would go away but I definitely had a sense of doom and gloom.

In August 2007, I finally went to gp. And pretty much marched in there and told my regular gp's back up that I thought I had lung cancer. Should have seen the look on that poor new doctor's face! So he sent me for an x-ray and tried to calm me down. It came back cloudy, and protocol was to go back in a week, have another one done and see if different. In the meantime he had referred to also to a lung specialist and for a CT scan.

My CT scan was scheduled for end of August. I will never forget that day. I left work (yup...still working..can you say stupid!) By that point I could hardly walk a half a block without having to stop and catch my breath. So I went and had my CT scan done and then I decided, hey I was out of the office anyways, might as well drop in and see the doc and tell him about my increased problems breathing. Well, one look at me that day and he sent me straight to emergency. I got in quickly there, and fortunately it was the same hospital I had just had CT scan done. I was admitted immediately, and had 3 litres of fluid drained from my lung. And then went on with bronchs (2 of them) media thing and thorascopy for staging purposes.

The crap about LC is that it can just be lurking there undetected for years and years. And then of course it is harder to treat and cure once it has progressed. I had go on and on about the crap of LC but will save that for another day.

My advice to anyone out there who thinks they are at risk or have any symptoms, is to insist on a periodic chest x-ray. It is scary, but it may end up saving your life if you can catch it sooner versus later.

I hope and pray that all of this information we are sharing helps people.

Sandra

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At my semi annual asthma check up 1/07 with my toxicity doc, my PFT levels were a lot worse. Told him I had a perisitent cough after a cold 2 months previous. After 1 round of antibiotics he did a CT and it looked like inflammation. I had 2nd round of antibiotics and another CT 3/07. Nodule is small but now looks suspiscious for malignancy. PET normal. Needle biopsy inconclusive.

Because of my exposure to ruptured silicone breast implants he referred me to Karmanos Cancer Institute. They thought it was most likely benign, but recommended removal. VATS 5/16/07 showed cancer and they proceeded with RLL lobectomy.

I believe in my heart that if I had seen my regular PCP a chest xray would not even had been done. I was blessed to have a doc who know that my exposure put me at a higher risk. I tell him that he is my guardian angel.

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Charlie woke up short of breath. He went to the PCP who suspected pulmonary emboli. Sent him for a CT scan...he had pulmonary emboli and a tumor...the rest is history. He had just had a chest X-ray the month before that didn't show anything. He was stage IV at diagnosis.

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I had been coughing for a long time and always said it was from my sinuses draining. Then I got really sick in August and September of 2006. Had pneumonia. After the second course of antibiotics and the pneumonia would not go away, my doctor ordered a CAT scan. She was convinced that I had a pneumatocele caused by a previous MRSA infection (a pneumatocele is a big pus ball in your lung). So I had the CAT scan done, and as you can read in my profile, the radiologist accidentally called my home, not the docs office with the diagnosis!!! That sure was a fun night. :cry::cry:

I was Stage IV at diagnosis.

HUgs - Patti B.

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Larry has chronic sinusitis. He went to the doctor several times. He was prescribed antibiotics and antihistamines. Several times over several months. He never got any better. I kept asking him to go back to the doctor, but he resisted. " They are just going to prescribe the same stuff and it doesn't help!" One day, when he told me that he wasn't going into work again (unusual for him to miss work), it was like I really looked at him for the first time in a long time. I almost screamed at him. Look at yourself! You are deteriorating before my very eyes! You need to go to the doctor! And I left for work. When I got home, he wasn't there. Hmm. Several hours later, he came home with the news that the chest x-ray showed something suspicious. And that was the beginning of our walk with lung cancer.

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I was having tightness in my chest for a couple weeks but wouldn't go to the doctor. My daughter called and made the appointment with a GP. Because of a history of heart trouble in my family, he sent me for a stress test, blood test, etc. and at the end he also decided to add a chest x-ray. That is when they noticed a 1cm spot on my left lung. It was diagnosed as L/C until 7 months later when they did the lobectomy.

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In a nutshell.

Tom had started coughing a lot in October 07. For 2 weeks he though he just had a cold. "If it's not better by Monday I will go to the doctor" he says. Monday came and went twice. Finally sees GP. GP states Pneumonia. Takes a course of antibiotics and an inhaler. Feels a little better with the inhaler. Coughing comes back strong. Goes back to GP and another course of antibiotics. December still coughing. Extreme SOB. GP says give it time to clear. 1/14/08 finally an x-ray. 7cm lung mass. Over next 2 weeks CT, Bronchoscopy, MRI and PET. PET lit up liver and a couple of lymph nodes.

Stage 3A at diagnosis. 2 rounds of chemo and another CT. Restaged at IV.

Funny thing is. In April 07 when an x-ray was done for the AAA pre-op. Nothing was there.

Denise

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I had a bad pain in my back for a couple of months - thought it was another kidney stone and tried to cranberry juice it to death! Then it got so bad that I couldn't use my right leg at all. I figured I had hurt something bad playing with the kids at school and I went to my GP. She thought I had a herniated disc and sent me for an MRI and CAT, ( here is the bad part - my GP was a friend and a former employer - when she got the test results back she sent me to the ER but wouldn't tell me why - she just said it was serious and I might need to stay. So I was told all alone by a complete stranger. She is no longer my GP or my friend.)

Looking back I wonder if previous pneumonia - around 8 years ago - and kidney stones - around 3 years ago - were misdiagnoses - and were really early symptoms. But it does me no good now to worry about the past.

Janet

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For me, it started in Jan '05 with a cough and aggravation in my chest/throat that was hard for me to describe. Dr. said probably acid reflux and gave me medicine. Went back to the dr. several times over the next 2 years with worsening symptoms, blood tests were normal, had CT of neck that was normal, and even had a normal chest x-ray. April '07 severe back pain began but didn't get an MRI until June which showed abnormalities in my spine, biopsy and chest CT confirmed stage IV lung cancer just before my 36th b'day.

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I know that there have been many studies showing that routine chest xrays have no value, but like several other posters, my cancer was found on a routine chest xray during my annual physical.

I think routine screening is a must at least for people like me --an ex-smoker and have lung cancer in my family history (my dad died of it).

Lind a

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I had no symptoms whatsoever. After reading the book "Lung Cancer-Myth, Facts, Choices and Hope" after a friend was diagnosed with lung ca I realized I had risk factors that were quite high (grew up in smoking household/smoked myself, although quit 18 years ago). I had to negotiate with my GP to get the chest x-ray (I wanted a CT scan which I would pay for-he thought that was not warranted in my case). Anyhow, after repeating the x-rays over a period of 3 months it was decided due to growth of the nodule that further work up must be done. It was seen at initial x-ray; however, the radiologist thought it was just a bony rib protrustion. I thank God for him and his eagle eye every day, because if not for him - well, who knows. Anyhow, another person lucky enough to have their cancer picked up via chest x-ray.

Thanks to everyone for sharing their stories...many will be educated due to this thread.

Linda

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i think research has found that x-rays are a good way to screen for it. But what they have also found is that earlier detection doesn't necessarily have a huge impact on long term survival rates....the cost/benefit dilemma. I don't buy that for one second. If you think you are at risk...insist on an x-ray and your chances will be WAY better if caught early. Don't get me going!!!

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My mom: Had a chronic dry cough. GP said it was allergies. I was bothered, threw a temper tantrum, mom called GP and said my daughter is crazy, insists I get a chest xray, dr chuckkles, order xray. No one was chuckling the next day with the call that there is a mass and she needs a ct-scan.

My dad: Went to urologist for enlarged prostate. Ordered abdominal ct-scan which showed something in the lung window. No symptoms.

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my dad had no symptoms really.

took a road trip to pick up my brothers son and came home wiith back pain....thought it was soreness from the marathon trip he took by car...that lasted a month....then all the sudden he lost his voice...no sore throat, no pain- just lost his voice.

After GP/ENT/PULM/ONC visits-

dx. was extensive stage small cell- masses in left lung and mets to liver.

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Beverly mostly complained of being unusually tired. She was prescribed anti-depressants. A few weeks later, on a family gathering, she and my other sister were sleeping and my other sister noticed Beverly's breathing wasn't right. Beverly went back to her Doctor, because by then, she had started coughing. He prescribed a cough medicine and anti-biotics. Cough continuously worsened so my Dad made her go to his cardiologist and he ordered an x-ray and before she could make it home, the dr. called her and told her to come back, something was on her lung. And that is how the nightmare began...I wish I would have been more forceful in telling her to go to the doctor when she first complained of being tired.

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I had been going to a GP for a dry cough for the longest time and he kept giving me decongestants, etc.- never gave me an xray even though he would talk to me about smoking. Luckily for me, his fiance broke off their engagement and he moved back to his home state.

I started getting tired all the time, felt drained as if I were pregnant. Called the dr, found out he was gone and made an appt with the first doctor that was available at the medical clinic. He sent me for blood tests and when I was done with the bloodwork, the nurse told me he also wanted an xray which terrified me because of my smoking history.

The rest is history. A shadow showed up on the xray - the doctor sent me for a CT scan which showed an 11M nodule, sent me for a PET that really didn't show anything. 3 months later I had another CT, the nodule was then 13M and I went to surgeon. I couldn't have biopsy or bronchoscopy because the nodule was deep in the lining of my upper right lobe. I actually went into surgery 5 months after original xray, not even knowing if it was cancer or not.

I pretty much owe my life to timing and fate and the fact that the one doctor left, this doctor happened to have an opening and for some reason he sent me for an xray. He even told me later he wasn't sure why he sent me for the xray right off the bat - we hadn't discussed the cough or smoking history. Simply what it boils down to - If it wasn't for him impulsively ordering an xray, and a woman changing her mind about a marriage, I never would have been graced with the opportunity I had for recovery. Sometimes, our lives are directed by the simplest of things.

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