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Jane_Smith

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Hello. The day after Christmas my mom went to the ER because she was coughing up blood and had a persistent cough for months (was previously treated for colds twice and just given antibiotics) she’s a former smoker who quit a few years ago. They found a mass on her lung and a bleed in her brain that has stopped. She’s only 52 and this doesn’t seem real. She’s currently at home acting like her normal self and waiting on biopsy results. I feel like the most likely answer is that she has stage 4 lung cancer that metastasized to the brain. I know I shouldn’t google, but I do. I am really struggling to handle it all. I can’t tell if she’s being optimistic or naive. She said today that “we don’t even know for sure if it’s cancer”, but the doctors specifically called it squamous cell lung cancer. I believe they said 5 cm. Anyway, the only thing that I find any comfort in is being here and reading the posts and comments. I’m not sure what else to do besides wait for the biopsy results. 

Happy New Year to you all 

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Hi Jane and welcome here.  I'm sorry to hear about your mom's issues. Your mom may well have lung cancer, but there's always to possibility of something else . Waiting for the biopsy is what you can do right now. If  the biopsy does show cancer, your mom should be sure that samples are sent for biomarker testing. That would be important in determining treatment. Does she have a pulmonologist yet? It would be important for her to see one ASAP, since cancer or not, she has a mass on her lung and was coughing up blood. 

We're here for you. This is a good place to find information, support and hope. Let us know what questions you have and keep us posted.

Bridget O

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Hi, Jane, and welcome.  I don't see how anyone could know it's squamous cell, even if they believe it is cancer, based on an ER visit.  The biopsy will tell you more, and scans will provide more info on any lesions in the brain.  

There are treatments for any of those possibilities.  Hang in there!

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MYour mom may be trying to set a “tone” in the family for dealing with her illness. A mother never wants to worry her children, and even though we do not know her, she is not necessarily in denial, which it sounds like concerns you, but is taking it one step at a time. You can only deal with what you know for sure at the time, and the biopsy result is the only definitive answer.  Did they test any blood or fluid? The doctor could have been making his “best guess” based on what he can see. Besides stopping the brain bleed, the ER must have done some other imaging like CT scans or MRIs and some lab work. The brain MRI might show if it was the bleed of a tumor or a brain bleed from a blood vessel or something. (? By the way, we do not “know it all”. We have just been there and can share our experiences and some of the possibilities.) Did they go ahead and do a needle biopsy at her ER visit also? (If so, she’s way “ahead of the game” to have had all those tests done in one place during the same visit.  So, however your health care network works, usually after an ER visit you have to see your PCP and get a pulmonology referral or thoracic surgeon or oncologist as recommended. This is definitely one of the most difficult parts of the process, especially waiting between results and appointments and the uncertainty of what to do next. Are you near Moffitt or Mayo or Cleveland Clinic satellites in Florida?  Let us know how you are both doing.

cynthia

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Thank you all for your replies! At the initial ER visit they admitted her to run tests because she didn’t have insurance. They did MRI, ct scan, xrays, and finally the lung biopsy. As far as the MRI and ct scan, they only said they can’t tell if it spread or not but that it likely could have spread to the brain but they won’t know anything for sure until the biopsy results. It has been 5 days since the biopsy and we haven’t heard anything. I am wondering if the delay could be due to holiday weekends. Anyway, I think she finally figured out insurance so we are just waiting around for results. 

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Even with all the tests she's had, it requires a biopsy to know what type of cancer it is.  They might SUSPECT it's squamous cell but there's really no way to confirm that short of a biopsy.  And yes, the holidays/weekends will slow down the results.  You should have them soon, though.

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Stay strong Jane! The waiting game on results is definitely hard to deal with. I just had a very similar experience with my dad and his results had been delayed a little due to holidays ect. Soon enough you can start your fight as they develope a plan for your mother. This forum is wonderful with many people who have been through all this for years. Gives you hope and great knowledge on what’s to come. Thoughts and prayers as you start this journey. 

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