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LaurenH

Brief Survey on Biomarker Testing

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Done! Thank you Tom. My biomarker test results are not back yet. I can do the test again when it is back. And I'm not sure if this facility is a teaching or contained facility. I have confidence in my pulmonary Doctor Erickson. He seems to be going the extra. He has the no stone unturned mentality. Which is mine also so I really appreciate providers like this. My brother is seeing him soon also because they found 2 nodules on his right lung via an x-ray for cracked rib. I would want to have an account for him also here. But afraid it may get overwhelming to switch back and forth. Easier way suggestions? This is really surreal right now. I'm a natural born helper and want to help him through but have to help myself, one who needs no help. Ha! How too...? Well, well My, my...

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DeeJay,

Oh man, your brother has nodules also!  That sucks!

I would encourage your bother to establish a unique account.  Opening a second account with your IP address may cause our system to reject your application.

As far as helping, you may find brothers progressing through the same diagnostic process for the same disease a unique and effective support system.  I've very comfortable sharing information with my brothers, especially emotional information.  So, think about it that way.

Stay the course.

Tom

 

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I just want to throw in a reminder that most nodules are NOT cancer.   So it's far from a foregone conclusion that your brother has cancer (unless there's more info than what you posted).  Still, nodules can be scary until it's determined what they are.  

I just don't want you both to get carried away too soon without more information.  I hope it turns out to be harmless nodules, as most are.

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Yes Tom, I feel more sad about brothers than mine. And I dont mind sharing with him. He was at my first appointment and at the biopsy the next day. Called him with the results right away.  Brother is completely computer or smart phone illiterate. I love him like that. We have had wonderful camping, hiking, mushroom ginseng good, etc.. hunting, exploring, walking creeks times. 

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Lexicat,

Thank you for that information!  So wonderful to hear! However,  a burning question: Do nodules grow into masses or tumors that are cancerous? 

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To my knowledge, not unless they were cancerous to begin with.  Cancers do start off as nodules, but that's because any growth smaller than 3 cm (or 30 mm) is called a "nodule".  Larger ones are called a "mass."  Either can be cancerous or benign (though larger growths are more likely to be cancerous).  Most nodules are just collections of tissue that are harmless.  With small nodules, doctors usually re-scan in a few months to see if there is a change in size or appearance (either of which makes it more likely to be cancer, though not for sure).  A biopsy is the only way to know for sure if a nodule is cancer, but that often can't be done until the nodule is large enough to biopsy.  My cancerous nodule was still too small to biopsy when I had my lobectomy--but it was suspicious enough, based on the appearance, that it was worth doing the surgery.

One of the reasons they don't screen everyone for lung cancer is that over half the population has nodules, which leads to more testing and possibly unnecessary treatment.  Obviously, half the population doesn't have lung cancer.  So nodules deserve to be watched, but they only rarely represent cancer.

Think about it this way--skin cancers first appear as moles, which means you should watch them for suspicious changes.  But most moles are not cancer.

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Thank you Lexie. That is good information.  How can I advocate for Lung screening to be done as frequently as breast and colon cancer screenings?

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Lung screening is recommended ONLY for those with a higher than normal risk of lung cancer.  The current guidelines are: over 55 years of age, current or former smoker (if former, quit less than 15 years ago), 30 pack-year history of smoking (one pack a day for 30 years, two a day for 15 years, etc.).  The reason for this is that, as you have seen, lots of people have harmless nodules, and unless you are at an elevated risk for lung cancer, discovering them is likely to result in what would probably be a lot of unnecessary testing, worry, etc., with no benefit for the vast majority of people with harmless nodules.  In addition, the scans do, themselves, pose some risk in terms of radiation exposure, and further testing (biopsy, surgery, etc.) carries its own risks.  

If you want to learn more about the screening protocols and efforts to make the availability of screening more widely known, check out this website:  https://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/saved-by-the-scan/  My story is on there, along with a lot of other people's.  I recommend screening to anyone I know who might qualify.

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