Hello out there. I need help please. I am a 45 year old female who has smoked for over 30 years. A pack of cigarettes would last me 3 days. This has been my habit for all those years. I would smoke maybe 5 to 6 cigarettes a day. I recently quit and am still struggling with it. I went to my primary doctor recently and requested a spiral ct and x-ray of my chest and lungs due to the recent death of Peter Jennings and small warning signs coming at me. When I went back for the results, her words were "if you go hunting for something, you will find something". They chest x-ray did not pick up anything. The spiral CT found a 3 centimeter spot on my left lung. My doctor's advise was that it could be nothing and that we should wait a few months to take another ct in January. My concern is that what if it is serious and what can we do now. I dont know what to do. Should I wait as my doctor suggests or should I go see a specialist. I am scared and my mind keeps wondering with all kinds of stuff. I have not told anyone about this. I am afraid to say anything because I dont want to worry my husband or children if its not needed. Please help me.
Hello, take it from a thirty year smoker who was very lucky that my small cell lung cancer went to a lymph node by my collar bone, which got very large very quickly, or I would not have seen a doctor until it was very advanced. I would definitely see a specialist and be on the safe side. Small cell lung cancer spreads very quickly and I am in remission right now because mine was caught fairly early. A PET scan should show up cancer cells if they are there and if so, you would be in the best position to fight it with treatment. Of course it could be nothing, but I would have it checked out further. Best of luck and I will pray for you that it is nothing harmful.
Definitely go to a pulmonary doctor and he will probably send you for a pet scan which will tell if it's cancer or not.
My husband had gotten non small cell cancer and he has quit smoking 25 years before that. They found it early because he had gotten pneumonia and was in the hospital for it and that's when they found a spot on his upper right lobe and decided not to wait to see if it got bigger so once he recovered from the pnumonia he came home from the hospital and had numerous other tests done and two weeks later had the surgery and thank god he did, they got it before it spread. They did chemo on him for precaution and he's fine today. It will be six years in Dec.
Good Luck but see a specialist soon, better to be safe than sorry.
I add my vote to the go see a pulmonary specialist and not wait. If it is cancer "time is tissue" as they say with heart attacks, strokes ect. The longer you wait the more damage it does. There are many reasons people get nodules in their lungs so it may not be cancer but that is still worth the piece of mind you will get by knowing. Read the post " one year ago today" if you have not already done so. The fact that you are female and a smoker should have made your doctor want to check it out further rather then take the let's wait and see attitude. Last night I took care of an older woman that had lung cancer 25 years ago, they found it early and got it out and she did not even have chemo or radiation and here it is 25 years later and she remains cancer free so finding it early can make a huge difference. I also believe in listening to that inner voice and if your inner voice was telling you to go see a doctor and get an X-ray and CT and a nodule was found..yes I would listen to my inner voice before I listen to others.Our bodies know when things are not right and some people are blessed in the fact that they hear that inner voice telling them things are not right and they then listen to it and take action. I would also urge you to tell your husband as yes you may be causing him to worry about something that turns out to be nothing but this is not the time to play protecter as you need someone to lean on and get you through all of this. Most people also do not like it when a loved one hides something like this from them as they want to be there for you,so do not go it alone. Your post made me decide to e-mail a pulmonary doctor that I have worked with for years and ask him why the doctors tend to take a wait and see attitude. Veterinarians use to do that too and recently while talking to an older vet he told me he was at a conference and one of the topics was tumors and the vet that gave the talk started out with case studies and it was a Cat that had no signs of illness but the owner had found a lump.The question was what do you do next? The older vet raised his hand to answer and said I would tell the patient we will wait and watch it reevaluate it in a few months. The vet giving the lecture said " Well you just killed the Cat as it had a very aggressive form of cancer" so our older vet learned you no longer wait but suggest a biopsey! And I know my own vet always suggests we biopsey lumps and bunps so I wonder when are human doctors going to see that light? Anyway I will let you know what the good doctor tells me. Keep us posted on what you find out as we are all here for you be it good news or bad news but I will pray it is good news. Best of luck, JanMarie
Thank you Tuckygal, Pitbull1993, and Janmarie2 all so much for your responses. I will definitely seek a specialist and request the PET scan. Your words help me realize that I need to move on this quickly. I feel so much better to speak with others about my concerns. Janmarie, I will talk with my husband about it. I will keep all of you posted and I appreciate your kind words and prayers. Tears came to my eyes as I read each of your replies to know that I am not alone in this.
BE AGGRESSIVE. And tell a few friends - believe me - it helps. You need someone to be strong for you. You need them to be scared with you. And you need someone to go to the doctors with you. You won't hear anything at the doctor if you are scared.
I went through the same thing last year. Lesion on my lung that looked malignant. Every test was ok, but they won't say "no it's not cancer" if there is the slightest chance. I couldn't handle the stress. I had the surgery to remove it. It was benign.
PET scan is a great idea. I had one done and waiting for results of any test can be scary. But so glad I did it. But they still won't say "no cancer" just in case - you know - the whole liability issue!
Speak to a thorasic surgeon - even if you won't even consider surgery. One more set of eyes on that CT scan won't hurt!
Are you sure the doctor said 3cm? Maybe she said 3mm? Maybe my math is wrong...it is late... but I would bet she said 3mm.
HANG IN THERE... you are getting the scare of a lifetime...but I bet things will be ok.
Keep us posted.
The following user gives a hug of support to mwessell: yingjie (01-24-2012)
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Now that you mentioned it I think you are right. I think it was mm (if that is the smaller version). She said it was like the very tip of a small pencil eraser. She drew a picture on paper to show me. Either way I will make calls today to get a PET Scan and see a pulmonary specialist. I will keep you posted. Thanks again.
By the way, Deb, in case you are apprehensive about getting a PET scan, as I was, not knowing what to expect: I had CT scans repeatedly with the staging of my cancer and a couple were pretty stressful since I was still coughing and it was difficult to lie still as required. The PET scan was a piece of cake. You will get an injection and wait around 45 minutes for it to circulate through your body and then lie on the table that will slowly go through the machine. I was completley dressed, with my hands clasped on my belly and almost went to sleep. Please don't be worried about this scan at all. I will be thinking about you and praying for good results. Pat
I agree with all that posted.. Doctors told my Mother 8 years ago that she had a small spot on her lungs. They told her it was nothing to be concerned about. Probably just scar tissue from a high fever she had as a child. Mom is also a smoker. Back in May of this year she started hurting behind her left rib cage. Her breathing became labored. Me and my sisters insisted she get it checked out. After several Doctors visits and tests, she was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer. I don't know if that spot 8 years ago had anything to do with it, but maybe if she would have persued it further, she might have caught the cancer early enough for treatment. Treatment at this point will only prolong the inevitable. I was just telling my Mother about your situation.. She says to tell you Do NOT wait.. make them give you answers..dont stop until you find a Doctor that will listen to you.
God bless you, our prayers are with you,
Molly, Mary and Mom
Last edited by Molly&Mary; 09-19-2005 at 01:01 PM.
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Thank you all so much for your special comments. I called a specialist and made an appt. The first opening they had is next Wednesday the 28th. They also have me on the cancellation list in case I can get in sooner. Yes Molly & Mary, the first question they asked me was if I had previously encountered a pneumonia as a child, and/or if I am going through some breathing difficulties and pain. I will keep everyone posted on my situation as I continue this journey. My prayers are with all of you. Mary & Molly please pass on to your mom that I will continue being persistant and that my prayers are with her as well. JanMaire, I know I told you that I will speak with my husband but I have decided to wait one more week. After I see the specialist I will talk with my kids and husband. I really do not want to worry them unless I have to. I think I can handle one more week, besides I have you guys that I can speak with and get comfort from. You have all been such a great source of support. I really really do appreciate all your notes.
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Absolutely get an appointment TODAY. 3 cm is big enough for a biopsy. My husband was initially found to have a spot only 1 cm visible in an X ray when he cracked some ribs. They said it was not big enough to biopsy and to come back in 6 months to see if it has grown. By the time we got back, the cancer had already spread.
I'm so angry. I'm pretty certain they look at people under 50 and assume it can't be lung cancer. Well it can be -- my husband was 39 when diagnosed.
DO NOT WAIT!!
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I am so sorry to hear about your husband. I am calling other specialists to see if I can get a appt sooner. I mistakenly said centimeters when it was millimeters. The size of the nodule is 3 millimeters not centimeters. It did not apprear in the x-ray, only on the CT Scan. I am going through a list of medical providers that is offered by my health insurance to get an appt sooner. Keeping my fingers crossed. I am just getting up now. I had a bit of a rough night...did not get much sleep tossing and turning.
Hello, First let me say I am glad to hear we are talking about a 3mm not a 3 cm nodule. I told you I would ask my friend a pulmonary doctor why doctors often want to wait to check out a spot in the lungs. Well here is what he wrote back and I have copied and pasted it for all to see not that it really answers the question like I had hoped. But anyway this is what he says. And I have never seen him make a decision for any of his patients so know he would say we can wait and see, we can do Pet scan, we can do a biopsy then allow the patient to decide. My mom had her 3rd dose of Alimta today so I am hoping she tolerates it as well as the previous two. Hope all is going well for all of you reading this and below is the reply from the doctor. . JanMarie This is a complicated question. First, people don't realize that lung
cancer (the usual type) is very slow growing. It takes 6 to 10 years
for a malignant cell to become large enough to even see on CXR. Having
said that, however, a 3 cm nodule is always worrisome. Reasons we
sometimes delay a procedure such as a biopsy is that we feel the patient
has too severe lung disease to tolerate a biopsy or that even if cancer
is diagnosed it will not make a difference. However, the way I handle
it is to be honest and to give the patient choices. I never make the
choice for them, although I may make a strong recommendation.
Unfortunately, catching a lung cancer by six months on a CT scan or even
12 months early has not been proven to prolong survival. It only leads
to an earlier diagnosis and something that is called lead time bias. I
am happy to discuss this more with you if I am not making sense.
Hello everyone, its been 3 weeks since I last check with everyone. I have been very busy with all sorts of appts and I decided to throw a long awaited party so to keep me busy with other stuff. Well as promised here is the latest in my situation. I went to see the pulmonary specialist who is so very nice and informative. He scheduled me for a full body PET scan which was done on Oct 1st. 3 days ago he called me to come in for the results. Here goes: The nodule on my left lung turned out to be a false alarm, it was an artery showing up in the CT scan. He wants to follow up in a few months again with another scan for that. However, something else was found in the PET scan. There is something going on in my left ovary. The scan picked up very high activity going on and the radiologist strongly recommends seeing a Gynecologic Oncologist to remove the ovary (its that bad). My gyn doctor as well as my primary doctor were called and all 3 doctors strongly recommended the same. I am now scheduled to see another doctor next week. And so this is my update. I finally talked with my husband. I know he is being strong for me, but this is eating him up inside. I will wait till after the party to tell our kids. WIsh me luck.