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COPD patient needs help: surgery or radiation/chemo?


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Hello, all! Thanks so much for your responses to my post in the newcomer's section. Again, I would really appreciate any insight on this next step in our journey…

Review from my post in the newcomer’s section: Mom was diagnosed with COPD about three years ago. A CAT scan taken at the end of February showed a grape-sized mass in my Mom's lower right lobe. PET scan on 2/27 (results communicated 3/1) confirmed it is "active", and therefore probably cancerous. Mom’s lung specialist was very pro surgery to remove the entire lobe. Mom’s surgeon was very concerned about surgery due to her lung function: he noted a 20% chance of her being on a ventilator for an “extended period of time” (which he later clarified to be anywhere from weeks to the rest of her life). He said that if the pulmonary function tests he had reflected her current condition, he would do a wedge section rather than remove the whole lobe.

Update: Bronchoscopy revealed that cancer is in the bronchial tubes of that lobe. Options are either surgery to remove entire right lower lobe or radiation/chemotherapy.

Here’s where I would greatly appreciate your thoughts: though doctors are unable to name a timeframe, Mom’s COPD is considered “end stage.” Her pulmonary function is severely obstructed. How on earth do we go about making the choice between surgery or radiation/chemo? I feel like surgery is an all-or-nothing gamble: I’ve read surgery has a higher cure rate than radiation/chemo, but she could end up with too little healthy lung with which to breathe. Has anyone else dealt with a similar situation? Does anyone have suggestions as to questions we should be asking the doctors? Does anyone have suggestions as to additional things we should be considering? I’m grateful for any thoughts. Blessings ~ Phoenix

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I would ask the same questions you have asked here. Which one offers the best cure rate, which offers the best quality of life issues, which would the Doctor choose for HIS Mother??

I don't have those answers but I DO have prayers and good wishes I am sending your way!

God Bless,


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