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Family member was recently diagnoses with INVASIVE ADENOCARCINOMA OF LUNG. The PET scan shows the initial tumor with a standard uptake level of 24.8 and a secondary tumor in same lung with SUV of 20.8. It also stated "hypodense area seen in left temporal lobe with diminished activity anterior to this is increased activity with standard uptake value of 7.3. Increased activity in right vocal fold. Pelvic nodule with standard uptake level of 16.2 and an area in the distal esophagus with SUV of 3.2. 

Am I reading this correctly that it appears the lung cancer has now spread to brain, pelvis and esophagus? We do not see Oncology for a few more days and I would like to know before then so I can prepare my emotions properly. 

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Welcome here.

Just a clarification first before my comment on your PET, did your family member have a biopsy? I am presuming so did because you report adenocarcinoma, a subtype of non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and our disease can only be definitively diagnosed by a tissue biopsy. If that is so, then I'd ensure your family member's tissue biopsy sample was sent to a laboratory for follow on biomarker testing. This is very important because some forms of adenocarcinoma respond to new medicines that can be very effective. These new treatments are collectively referred to as targeted therapy. Also the biomarker test should also suggest the suitability of immunotherapy as a systemic method.

You are giving us information from your family member's PET scan, and this scan is used to confirm the stage of diagnosed lung cancer. The PET information suggests your family member has stage IV disease, and this disease will require a form of systemic treatment. Here is my insight on the PET scan and explanation of SUV. 

What can I tell you ahead of your oncology consult? Your family member has stage IV NSCLC adenocarcinoma and because it is stage IV, it will require systemic treatment to resolve. I say resolve because, fortunately, these days breakthroughs like targeted therapy, immunotherapy and precision radiation are much more effective methods than what was available when I was diagnosed in 2004 and progressed to stage IV in 2005. 

My survival entailed luck. Many, these days with our disease after systemic treatment, reach a point of no evidence of disease or NED, our gold standard treatment result. So my first suggestion for emotion preparation is that hope for treatment success is real. If I can live, so can your family member. I'm quite certain others on this forum will chime in and confirm that statement with insight and information on systemic treatment results.

Biomarker testing is pretty common these days but sometimes, the medical system does not automatically include this second diagnostic process. At your forthcoming consultation, I'd ask if samples were sent for biomarker testing, and if they were not, I'd insist they be sent.

Three things to set the proper emotional framework: a stage IV lung cancer diagnosis is no longer a death sentence; there are effective treatment methods besides hope; and this forum is the place for questions, insight, and proof of positive treatment outcomes.

Stay the course.


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