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Hello Friends,

I have a question please. As some of you may know, my mom is on a clinical trial right now. On her last set of scans, her onc saw a small amount of fluid, so small that he was not planning on doing anything about it and if the drug company forced him to do so, he was not going to b/c the amount to be retrieved was so small, he said he could not even be guaranteed to get any out. Well, my mom went today and asked if the cancer could be cancerous. He said yes. So, my question to all of you is this, is all fluid cancerous? Why does fluid appear in the lungs? What should we watch out for? I have read here that sometimes the fluid just disappears? Is this true for cancerous and non-cancerous fluid, if there is such a thing?

Thank you!


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I don't have the answer, but I do remember reading posts of people talking about fluid and it was not cancerous. Like it could be, but not always. I seem to recall Mo-Sugar going in to get drained fairly recently, check posts from her or PM her.

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I have had fluid drained twice (almost 2 liters each time). The first time they ran a test to see if it was cancerous and it was NOT. In answer to your question it COULD be either. The only way to know is to remove it and test it. If there is not enough to remove I wouldn't worry about it. We all have a certain amount of fluid in the membrane surrounding our lungs, it just can't be re-absorbed as easily when there is scar tissue or tumor in the lung.

Prayers and best wishes for your family.

God Bless,


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It could be caused by Taxotere. Since the Dr mentioned the drug, it may be the chemo. You can ask the Dr. Not all effusions have cancer cells in them.

From the one quote below a effusion cause by lung cancer will USUALLY be on the same side as the primary tumor, but I just also read it is bilateral not unilateral (so not sure about that).

Below it says it can be caused by a low albumin level. Albumin is a protein that maintains osmotic pressure. It keeps fluids from leaking into tissues. Also the article mentioned pulmonary embolism

I am sure your dr is looking at all these things. It is probably the Taxotere. If it is from the drug then I think it would resolve itself after the chemo is done.

I would ask the Dr your questions, he should answer your questions

Severe fluid retention (from Taxotere) occurred in 6.5% (6/ 92) of patients despite use of a 3- day dexamethasone premedication regimen. It was characterized by one or more of the following events: poorly tolerated peripheral edema, generalized edema, pleural effusion requiring urgent drainage, dyspnea at rest, cardiac tamponade, or pronounced abdominal distention (due to ascites)

With exception of lung and breast cancer, most pleural effusions associated with malignancies are bilateral, and no ipsilateral predilection is present. Primary lung carcinoma most commonly occurs with unilateral pleural effusion ipsilateral to the primary lesion. Pleural effusions associated with breast carcinoma typically are ipsilateral to the primary breast cancer (58-70%); however, 20-26% develop effusions contralateral to the primary lesion, and 10-16% develop bilateral effusion.

Virtually all cancers have been found to metastasize to the pleura. Paramalignant effusions are effusions associated with a known malignancy but malignant cells cannot be demonstrated in pleural fluid or pleural tissue.71 Lymphatic obstruction and increased capillary permeability caused by cytokines are important mechanisms causing pleural fluid formation. Endobronchial obstruction resulting in pneumonia and a parapneumonic effusion and atelectasis with a transudative effusion also are causes of a paramalignant effusion. Pulmonary embolism, superior vena cava syndrome, chylothorax, radiation therapy, drug reactions, and severe hypoalbuminemia also can cause paramalignant effusions.

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It looks like you probably already received your answer. My mom had fluid removed to see if she could be a candidate for the GVAX trial and there was NO cancer. It is not always cancerous. In fact my mom was hospitalized with fluid around both lungs and was given lasix which removed most.

Prayers for you and your mom and hugs to you.

Andrea B.

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Pleural effusion is not necessarily cancerous. My surgeon found limited amt of pleural effusion on my left/surgical side, and followed up on it a month later. He said there was not an increase, maybe a slight decrease, he saw no tumor, and he didn't want to breach the integrity of the chest and risk infection the prosthetic rib cage. He said not to worry about it, likely it will resorb. Most of the time, he said, it is a consequence of irritation/inflammation.

No reason to worry, you've got enough on your plate,



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