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Unable to get a diagnosis-4 years with growing 2.7 cm lung nodules MD states probably cancer but warns tumor sampling will lead to lung collapse

Tom H.

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Hi All, I am 66 y/o with COPD and emphysema, I have bilateral upper lobe growing nodules that the Pulmonologist  has scanned with CT's and PET scans since 2017.  Nodules are large 2.5cm and 2.7cm and growing and one is spiculated. MD is very hesitant to sample for cancer warning of 90% chance of lung collapse.  I have chronic bronchitis, short of breath, taking all kinds of inhaled steroids to manage symptoms.  So now I am left with deciding do I do a percutaneous lung biopsy or bronchoscopic biopsy?  Both may kill me, so my doctor says.  Or do I let it go and take my chances and continue with CT and Pet Scans?  Does anyone know of any other way to get a diagnosis that is safer and won't kill me? 

Any advice is welcomed at this point.  

Thanks, Tom H.  

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Hi Tom, 

Welcome to our forums.  I came across you by chance as most new newcomers first post in the "Introduce Yourself" forum, but you are fine here.  If it is okay with you I may move your post to that forum, which you can find here

But while we're here let me see if I can help you a bit.  It sounds to me like your doctor is concerned that potential side effects of a physical type of exam (biopsy or bronchoscopy) may outweigh the benefits.  There is another way that people are now getting biopsies and that is a "liquid biopsy".  You can read more about this by clicking on this.  The article can give you some information on the procedure. 

I know that folks on this site have had it and perhaps they'll find your post here.  But, I know you'll get more exposure in the forum I mentioned earlier.  Let me know if you want me to move your post and I will.  In the meantime, if I can help you with any other questions please feel free to ask.


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Bingo, Lou is spot on, in situations where the risk of a potential lung collapse, a liquid biopsy can be very valuable.   You may have to seek another opinion at a major cancer center in your area, look for a NCI or CCC designated health system.   

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