Originally Posted by Sunlover
My father-in-law is 75 and has been a heavy smoker, in February he had a chest x-ray and they found a spot, he went again 2 days ago and they said the spot spread. My question is, could this be anything ELSE but cancer??
He has no symptoms (he just went for a regular check up, I think he gets regular chest x-rays) - and if it IS cancer, if this is such an early stage, is there hope for a cure?
It COULD be something other than cancer--such as an infection, or an area of collapsed lung (atelectasis), but given his smoking history, the unfortunate reality that needs to be faced is that the most likely culprit is cancer.
His prognosis depends on: what type of cancer it is, and how far it's spread.
Lung cancers are divided in to two categories: small cell lung cancers (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC). The former are treated with chemotherapy only, and the latter are treated with surgery +/- radiation (if possible). Your father in law will likely undergo some bronchoscoping + a biopsy to make a tissue diagnosis. If it is indeed NSCLC, depending on how far it's spread, they can take out pieces of the lung or else the entire lung.