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LoriMae

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Hello

My Mother, (69, a recent nonsmoker who smoked heavily for 50+ years), was diagnosed 2 yrs ago with COPD. Then recently, an internest  said he didn't think it was COPD and ordered X-rays, then X-rays with dye, then cat scan, and then cat scan with dye. He found "shadows", then did an internal "down the airway" scope, flush, brushing and biopsy. He didn't find anything and now wants her to have a needle biopsy. She has denied it, saying that if it is cancer she doesn't want surgery or chemo as she has watched so many people go through it all only to die anyways. So there we sit. She just had pneumonia, has finished her  week of antibiotics, now has a large painful swollen glad along her jaw/throat area. What are your opinions? Is it cancer do you think? And does this possibly mean it has spread to her lymphatic system. If so, what stages is she likely to be at? I know you all are not Drs, however I also know you've been through it all and I just want opinions. I also think the pneumonia could be from the water they put down into her lungs for the biopsy and she couldn't  cough it out as her throat was sore and lungs are weak  from the COPD. If it is COPD ?!? . she's been short of breath for years. 

Thanks !!! 

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Hi LoriMae, I am also new to this board. Like your mom, I was a long term smoker (38 years) and though I didn't have a diagnosis of Copd I was having frequent sinus and upper respiratory infections. Fortunately, I recently started seeing a new PCP who immediately ordered a chest xray after I coughed up a little blood. After an abnormal chest xray and Ct scan in which multiple nodules were found in both lungs, I was referred to a Pulmonologist. I had the bronchoscopy done like you mom and it was negative. The needle biopsy was not, however and I was diagnosed with stage 4 nsclc. Since then I have been referred to MD Anderson and started on an immunotherapy clinical trial. Please tell your mom cancer treatment is evolving very rapidly. Now treatments aren't as harsh as they used to be. My oncologist tells me that while they may not be able to cure my cancer yet, they may well be able to convert it into a chronic condition like high blood pressure. Hopefully if we can stop it long enough new treatments will be developed that will get rid of it completely. Be patient, it does take a while for everything to sink in!

hope this helps. I am sure there are more experienced members that will have greater input :)

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Thanks so much for this!
If she ever goes back to her Dr, I will ask her to mention this. I am a. Reliever of alternative and new therapies.
Any issues with your lymph nodes?



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LoriMae,

Your mom has a lot going on.  I'm not a doctor so keep that in mind. An internal medicine physician oversaw preliminary scans and is suspicious of cancer.  Your mother pushed back at the needle biopsy.  Unfortunately, the needle biopsy becomes the definitive test to determine if your mom's symptoms are cancer or something else.

COPD and respiratory problems are complicating factors and that is understood.  A painful lymph node (swollen gland) could be infection or something else.  There is a lot of fear, obviously.  I understand.  I had that fear.  But, not having the biopsy will not reduce the fear, it will increase the uncertainty in both your mom and your family.  If she has cancer, treatment cannot start until the type of cancer is determined and typing requires a biological sample and pathologist examination.  Not wanting to go through treatment is understandable at some level, but only after knowing what you face.  I'd press for your mom to have the needle biopsy.  That will reveal what is going on.  Then you can make treatment decisions or non decisions.  And you will have reduced some of the uncertainty.

This is a good place to ask your questions.  Unfortunately, many of us have been right where your mom is, myself included.

Stay the course.

Tom 

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LoriMae, 

My lymph nodes in the hiliar (area between the lungs) appear to be slightly enlarged but they have not been biopsied. Only one site was biopsied and surgery is not on my list of treatments but odds are they are involved because both lungs are involved. No mets outside the lungs as of right now though!

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  • 2 weeks later...
LoriMae,

Your mom has a lot going on.  I'm not a doctor so keep that in mind. An internal medicine physician oversaw preliminary scans and is suspicious of cancer.  Your mother pushed back at the needle biopsy.  Unfortunately, the needle biopsy becomes the definitive test to determine if your mom's symptoms are cancer or something else.

COPD and respiratory problems are complicating factors and that is understood.  A painful lymph node (swollen gland) could be infection or something else.  There is a lot of fear, obviously.  I understand.  I had that fear.  But, not having the biopsy will not reduce the fear, it will increase the uncertainty in both your mom and your family.  If she has cancer, treatment cannot start until the type of cancer is determined and typing requires a biological sample and pathologist examination.  Not wanting to go through treatment is understandable at some level, but only after knowing what you face.  I'd press for your mom to have the needle biopsy.  That will reveal what is going on.  Then you can make treatment decisions or non decisions.  And you will have reduced some of the uncertainty.

This is a good place to ask your questions.  Unfortunately, many of us have been right where your mom is, myself included.

Stay the course.

Tom 


Thanks so much.


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