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Metastasis To Lung


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I have had quite a journey with Head & Neck Cancer. My vocal cords have been removed, and I am learning to speak again with various methods. However, a PET Scan showed stuff in my lung "highly suspicious" for a metastasis.

My quick search of here and there indicates that we with metastasis to the lung do not survive long. Any exceptions out there which prove the rule?

It is also conspicuous that there isn't a board dedicated to metastasis to the lung. Or am I really looking in the wrong place?

More about me: Strangely, I really enjoy a portion of most days. On a few days, medications drug me too much, preventing any real enjoyment. But that's cancer, I guess. I'm taking a few free on-line courses from https://www.coursera.org/. One course is in computer science; the other Modern Poetry. These "college courses" totally occupy my mind for a few hours each day.

Just a guy trying to get his voice back.


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I can't speak to metastasis to the lung specifically, but it is apparent that you have a great attitude and love for life. First, have you gotten test results back that definitively show metastasis? Additionally, as for survival, no one knows how long another person might survive. Remember that none of us is a statistic. There are so many examples of patients surviving many months and even many years, beyond what the statistics show or what a doctor may have predicted for them.

Keep enjoying your life and please let us know when you have the results.


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To answer your question: I've postpone having the biopsy which might very well establish that I have metastatic cancer. The reason is that this biopsy would not produce any recommendation for treatment in the near future (at the medical center at which I'm a patient). My medical oncologist told me that a biopsy would not alter treatment on bit, regardless of the results of the biopsy. Whether or not I have the biopsy, the suggested plan is to wait 3 or 4 months and see if the tumor grows.

I have a fear of treatment algorithms and insurance providers. I have just enough fear that a definitive diagnosis of metastatic cancer might bar me from other treatments. What if I have a heart attack? and need bypass surgery? Will a definitive diagnosis of metastatic cancer prevent me from getting cardiac surgery? If Rick is going to die in 5 months, why work on the heart?

So in my mind, if the biopsy does not lead to any treatment, why risk having the biopsy block a treatment?

By the way, there is a patient on the Amer Cancer Soc boards that is in about the same situation as I. He elected to have his biopsy. After having metastatic cancer (from larynx to lung) confirmed, the docs told him that they are going to wait 6 months and do another scan. He is on the East Coast and I am in the Pacific Northwest. So, I am quite certain that the advice given me is very "standard". So I have to seek out some fringe advice.

I will continue to search out health care providers and ask the big question: will the biopsy results lead to treatment options? But if there are no treatment options, why do the test? Why not just look for some medical center where the results of the test will/might lead to treatment? Rick.

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Rick - your reasoning for not doing a biopsy makes perfect sense to me and I think I would do the same.

I'm in Southern Oregon, but I traveled to Seattle for more than 2 years for a clinical trial, and I know that you have some excellent medical facilities up there - not to mention seafood and restaurants. I think I already mentioned cancergrace.org - the doctor who started it is Dr. Howard West from Seattle - and they do cover head & neck cancer as well. There is a panel of doctors and you can ask questions - in a general sort of way of course. (Being from the Seattle area you probably already know all of this).

Please keep us posted. Diane

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