Jump to content

Cancer -Scared to Death


Lucylori

Recommended Posts

Hello  I went to the hospital because i had a bad cold found out it was pneumonia so they did CT scan and found a nodule on my right lung they said it was 2 centimeters so they did a biopsy and it came out inconclusive  had a PET scan same thing so now the doctor wants me to have the VATS surgery and I was all for it till he told me all the risks and now he just scared the heck out of me and I am not sure I want it now...Has anyone had this procedure done before?   I have bad anxiety so it is worse for me . Or they told me I could have Radiation and they would zap it and i would not need surgery but that it could come back well they said the VATS  procedure it could come back later also so not sure whats the best option yet

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Lucy.  Given both tests being inconclusive I understand why you are concerned with both options of treatment.  Did the doctor tell you why they felt you should pursue those treatments?   Are there other characteristics of the nodule that concern them?   Has it grown, is it spiculated, it is located in a concerning location?  I had an 8mm nodule that was too small to biopsy.  It also did not light up on a PET scan.  My nodule was spiculated, in a concerning location and I have a significant family history of lung cancer.  Given those reasons my doctor also recommended I do a lobectomy.  I had the surgery 2 months ago. My nodule turned out to be lung cancer but the majority of nodules (around 60% are not cancer).  I don’t require any follow up treatment.  

Typically they will do what is called a wedge resection to remove the nodule, test it right then and there and proceed with a full lobectomy if it is cancer.  Recovery from a lobectomy is different for everyone.  I’m 43 years old and in reasonable health.  I have very few residual issues from the surgery.  Most are just irritations that I expect to go away as opposed to things I believe will be long term issues.  I have a lump/tickle in my throat that makes me cough.  I have some never discomfort on my side where the incisions were.  I have sole tightness in my chest when I cough or sneeze.  My lung capacity is less, but not less enough to stop me from doing my normal activities.  My doctor said unless I was planning on running a marathon I wouldn’t notice any lifestyle differences.  The recovery from surgery was also not terrible either.  A lobectomy is considered a curative treatment for early stage lung cancers.   My grandmother was treated with radiation for lung cancer when she was in her 80’s. Her doctors felt it was a better option than surgery given her age.  She passed in her 90’s from unrelated causes.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lucylori,

I'm sorry to hear about your unanswered questions - sometimes that is worse than knowing for sure you have cancer.  There are many people on the site who have had VATS, some were in similar situations as you in that they did not know their nodule(s) were cancerous.  They will tell you of similar experiences as Curt has.  My mom had an old-fashioned, open lobectomy, which is much more invasive than VATS.  She recovered just fine despite all of her other health issues, including COPD, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and chronic back pain.  She was 60 years old at the time.

Take Care, 

Steff

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lucylori,

Welcome here.

On discovery of a single lung nodule, one is generally left to decide one of three options: biopsy without surgery, do nothing and rescan after a period of time, or surgically resect and biopsy. I'm wondering why your doctors have not suggested a nonsurgical biopsy. Your nodule is certainly large enough to be a good target. There are generally two ways of getting a tissue sample for biopsy short of surgery: performing a needle biopsy or using a bronchoscopy procedure.  I'd ask why a non surgical biopsy cannot be performed.

Scans, even PET scans, are not a precise way of differentiating a lung nodule from a metastatic lung tumor.  Nodules form for many reasons; in fact your recent bout of pneumonia could be the reason for your discovered nodule.  Here is some good information on lung nodules and why they form. 

You could indeed zap the nodule using conventional or precision radiation but assuming a nonsurgical biopsy is not possible, I'd wait a period of time and rescan to see if the nodule displays characteristics of a metastatic tumor (growth and or spiculation).  

Stay the course.

Tom  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Lucilori,

I agree with  Curt's suggestion that you ask for an explanation for the recommendation for surgery when your biopsy and PET scan were both inconclusive. My single small nodule was discovered in a routine CT scan that was done to watch for possible metasteses from a prior non-lung cancer. They recommended a re-scan in 3 months and that scan showed slow growth. It did not "light up" on the PET scan. Due to its location, it couldn't be biopsied by needle or bronchoscope. Due to it's spiculated (spiky) appearance, it looked to the various specialists like a primary lung cancer (and not a metastasis from my otheer cancer). I had s VATS lobectomy and my recovery was fairly easy.  It turned out to be cancer, adenocarcinoma stage 1a. I was 71 and in pretty good health at the time of my surgery. Now two and a half years later I have No Evidence of Disease (NED). I don't have any remaining effects from the surgery other than my breathing sounds a bit funny at times..

If your doctors aren't clear about why they think  your nodule is likely to be cancer, or if you're not convinced, you could get a second opinion.

If you have more questions, post them and somebody on these forums will probably have answers. Collectively, we've been through a lot!

Bridget O

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

He said when they did they could do the surgery or i could go in and see about radiation something about they zap it and i am awake but he acted like it could come back and recommended the vats procedure but then he was telling me all the risks and i thought do i want to do this or not...I know they have to tell you all the risks but i have really high anxiety and it did not helo me at all

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

VATS stands for Video Assisted Thorascopic Surgery.  It is a less invasive way to perform a lobectomy.  They make three, sometimes four smaller incisions and remove the lung laparoscopically.  A VATS surgery has a quicker recovery time and you should have less pain and discomfort.  I had a VATS lobectomy.  I would do it again without hesitation if I had to.    

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are not awake when the intubate you.  You are awake when they remove the tube but few people remember that.  You are still an anesthetic haze.  I have no memory of it.   

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It’s different for everyone and depends a lot on your lung capacity before surgery.  Exercising and doing breathing exercises before surgery helps.  I was really surprised about how little the surgery affected my breathing, even immediately after.  The only time I noticed any differences was when I would walk around the hospital wing.  After a few laps I’d get winded quicker.  There was no pain when breathing, just shortness of breath when being active.  I did exercise and use the spirometer a lot after surgery to minimize the differences.  I still am.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

they gave me something when i was in the hospital with pneumonia  that i have been using u suck in really hard and it blows that little thingy up LOL it seems to really help my lungs and i had that lung test done and they said that i passed that just fine .Now when you got out of surgery how long was it before you could get up?

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That was a Spirometer.  I find it really helps my breathing as well.  I had surgery at 4 pm and was up and walking around the hospital at 6 am the next morning.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.