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I have had my second ct scan (6 mo interval).  Nodule has increased from 7mm to 11mm.  I am 71 years old.  I quit smoking 5 years ago.  The nodule is in the upper left lobe.  Next week i am sched for pulmonary function test and pet scan.  Following week biopsy.  I am BEYOND anxious. Any encourging words would be soooo appreciated.  Is the size of this mass considered largw?

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Answers to your quesions:

1. No, it's small.

2. Lorazepam, but doctors hesitate to give it to people our age. Apparently it may affect us more strongly and also they're afraid we'll fall down and end up with something worse than anxiety.

I was 71 two years ago when I was diagnosed with lung cancer after doing the repeat CTs like you did. I had a lower right lobectomy and was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma, stage 1a. The surgery, which was by VATs (laparoscopic, tiny incisions and a camera) was relatvely easy. No further treatment needed, just routine CTs every 6 months to watch for possible recurrence. I feel fine, and have been fine since I recovered from the surgery. 

Of course you're anxious. You're facing a big unknown. But if you do have cancer, it's probably very early stage and very treatable. And there's life beyond cancer (or even with cancer). Do things you enjoy, despite your anxiety! Hang in there. We've been there! 

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Welcome Quilter!

I completely understand beyond anxious.  I bet everyone on this forum understands also.  Encouraging words -- if cancer: if I can live, so can you.  Even more encouraging, my treatment experience was more than 14 years ago, and the lung cancer treatment arsenal is vastly improved these days.  Now we have targeted therapy, immunotherapy and precision radiation.  The PET scan will yield very useful information because if this scan shows cancer in only your upper left lobe, then surgery as a curative treatment is in the playbook.  Surgery moves the survival needle far, far to the right!

You asked about nodule size.  Normally, generally, usually a lesion in the lung less than 3cm in size is called a nodule.  Your's is 11mm which is just a little smaller than 1/2 inch.  It is much smaller than 3cm so it is still called a lung nodule, not a mass.  The nodule increased in size by 4mm in six months and that is neither significant nor insignificant.   My tumor went from invisible in an x-ray to nearly 4-inches long in an x-ray 30 days later.  But I've had nodules appear in one scan and disappear in another.  This, I'm afraid is also typical.  

Let us know about the PET.

Stay the course.

Tom  

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Your situation is almost exactly like mine was--same location (upper left lobe) and about the same sized nodule, which was the only thing that lit up on the PET scan.

Try your best to relax.  I had my upper left lobe removed and I was out with friends to dinner and a concert only a couple of weeks later.  I needed no chemo, just ongoing scans to make sure everything stays good.  It really was not a big deal at all. 

Of course, it's kind of easy for me to say that now, with hindsight.  At the time, it really WAS kind of scary, but I had great doctors whom I trusted, and who took very good care of me.  If your nodule turns out to be cancer, you can hope it will be that simple for you.

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Quilter,

Glad the PET only lit up in the one spot. How do they plan to biopsy it? What is the current estimated size of your nodule?

 

Ro

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If you're generally in good health, you should be able to tolerate surgery just fine.  Bridget did, and she was your age.  With VATS, you get three tiny incisions and you bounce back fast.  Be sure to ask your surgeon if you can have VATS.  It isn't ALWAYS possible--sometimes the location of the tumor or other factors make it impossible, but really, VATS is the way to go if they can do it.  

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I am in good health...just had complete heart work up with good results.  I do have COPD but was able to complete the brething test this past Wednesday.....praying....praying...won't see doc till a week from Tuesday..the 18th

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Met with surgeon...stage 1a...he is reccomending a segment instead of entire lobe...with my copd and age  segment would give better quality of life....any input?  I unerstand if reoccurrence i could then have the rest of the obe removed.  Surgery not for about 2 weeks so time to make a decision....any thoughts would help

 

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I think lobectomy is more common than wedge resection.. In your case, a wedge makes sense-- it's a small nodule and the wedge will leave you with more lung, important with COPD. I  don't have COPD or any other lung problems, but I asked my surgeon  about a wedge, because I liked the idea of losing less lung. But he said that due to the location of my nodule, he couldn't do a wedge. It was kind of in the middle of he lobe rather than near the edge,  and a wedge would disrupt the blood supply to the rest of the lung. So I had a lobectomy.

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Sounds to me like a reasonable course of action, given your COPD.  Recurrences can happen no matter what they do.  Lobectomies are favored in terms of preventing them, but they don't guarantee a non-recurrence, either.  You certainly want to retain as much lung function as you can.  I've heard of some people's breathing actually getting easier after lobectomy because the COPD was so bad in that lobe it was causing problems, but everyone's situation is different.  The kind of COPD you have might benefit from retaining as much lung as possible.  Your doctor would be the expert on that.

 

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My nodules were first found around April of 2016.  They had me come back in three months to see if there were any changes.  There weren't, so I was told to come back for another scan the following year (I was in a screening program).

The next year, spring of 2017, one of the nodules had grown a bit and had a suspicious appearance.  I was referred to a surgeon.  The pulmonologist said based on how it looked (it was too small to biopsy and no point, he said--it was suspicious enough it should come out no matter what), there was maybe a three percent chance that it WASN'T cancer.  So I went for a PET-CT, and the suspicious nodule was the only thing to light up.  I had the lobectomy in early July (maybe six weeks or or so? from the time the suspicious nodule was found).  I was staged at Ib after surgery.  No lymph node involvement, but there was possible invasion of the pleura, which made it Ib rather than Ia.  Because Ib is about the only stage where it's debatable whether chemo does any good, I had a choice and I opted not to have chemo but just continue with scans every six months.

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Surgery is tomorrow...anxiously waiting to "git 'er done".  Thank you to all for your posts which mde this journey easier.  I felt more knowledgeable and ready for my doc appt.  Will post my results...thanks again.

 

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