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Old 02-17-2010, 09:13 AM   #1
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pneumonia confused with lung cancer?

My mom is about to have a test today to determine if she has lung cancer. I forget the name but the doc is going to go into the chest right under her neck and take some tissue from the lymph nodes there. This has been an ongoing thing for a few months now, but not really. A few months ago, she had a bout of pneumonia, was given anti-biotics, and supposedly was fine. She goes to doctors REALLY reguarly to keep up with past cancers that she's beaten, and various other medical issues. Now suddenly, there is "a mass" in her lung, just outside, and they are concerned it could be cancer. I'm wondering if she even ever had the pneumonia at all, as I've read a few similar stories. This frustrates me because, while I understand that doctors are not God or experts even, how can two things so completely different be mixed up? Are they that different? To me, if you see something on the lung, it should be biopsied RIGHT way, but instead, they kept taking CT Scans, xrays, saying it was "just the infection". And again, I've read similar stories.

When I took her to the surgeon last week, he said he felt it "clinically looked like cancer" which of course did not make me happy. But I'm trying to think positive and maybe he's wrong, or if it is, it's still early enough. That's another thing, she goes to doctors SO regularly, between me and my family, we're all taking her to doctors every other week. So, how could something have been missed, or gotten so out of control (if it is, though I pray and hope it's not)...in such a short time?

Anyway, just rambling and venting a bit I guess. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

 
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Old 02-17-2010, 10:31 AM   #2
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Re: pneumonia confused with lung cancer?

Rain820, I am going through the EXACT same thing with my mom! PLEASE let me know how the biopsy comes out---- my mom had pneumonia in Dec 2009 and a follow up X-ray revealed it hadn’t cleared (or so they thought) so a CT was ordered which revealed a tumor located in her upper right lobe blocking the airway- her right upper lobe is partially collapsed as a result of the obstruction. She had a bronchospcopy and biopsy a few weeks ago which came back inconclusive. The Pulmonoligst said it still could be infection, but I fear it is cancer. They also were suspicious because apparently pneumonia is not seen often in the right upper lobe. Now we wait for 2 more weeks to get in to a cancer center (and for the insurance co to approve the referral) and wait for another test to be scheduled- a possible EBUS (endobronchial ultrasound). From what I have read you can’t tell the difference between pneumonia and a tumor from a scan and you need a biopsy. Problem there is even if a biopsy comes back negative or inconclusive it doesn’t rule out cancer--- they might not have “tapped” into the right area. In other words, just because they don’t find it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. There are several stories of people who wait a long time to get a diagnosis. I am very curious what procedure your mom is having. A VATS (video-assisted thoracoscopy) procedure seems more invasive, but more likely to yield a diagnosis. I have read stories of people who had needle biopsies which were negative and ultimately cancer was found. I am not telling you this to scare you -- more so you are persistent. The waiting is unbearable. Does your mom have any symptoms? My mom feels great- so I can only hope that if hers is cancer it is early enough. I hope the same for your mom. Keep me posted- I check this site daily.

Last edited by lynn91970; 02-17-2010 at 10:31 AM.

 
Old 02-24-2010, 08:10 AM   #3
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Re: pneumonia confused with lung cancer?

Hi again, well I'm back with some more info, but not completely all yet. They have deteremined as of yesterday that it is in fact lung cancer. There was a thought that it could have been metastacized cancer from her breast cancer of years ago, but apparently not. I don't know if it's worth knowing this, but would the metascized one be a better prognosis? Not that it matters much now really.

We've had a hell of a weekend though, I guess the stress of all this worrying caused my Mom to have a heart attack Friday night, so she's been in the hospital since Saturday. She may be coming home today, the heart checked out really well, so I'm thankful for that. But now we still have the impending cancer issue to deal with. She's going to find out treatment info, etc. next week, and then is going to get a 2nd opinion from a suggested doctor from a friend who's Dad went through the same thing.

Anyway, thanks again for the info, and I do hope your Mom has had some more info by now too, and that it's positive.

 
Old 02-24-2010, 11:19 AM   #4
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Re: pneumonia confused with lung cancer?

Hi, My thoughts are with you & your family

 
Old 02-24-2010, 05:20 PM   #5
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Re: pneumonia confused with lung cancer?

Oh my goodness, I am so sorry to hear your mother had a heart attack on top of everything else. And I am so sorry they confirmed it is cancer. Hang in there and try to take it one day a time until you know more next week. I will be praying for the best.

We saw a new doctor yesterday that we were referred to and she recommended my mom have a second CT scan. The good news is she said it very well could be Bronchiectasis. So we still have hope it might not be cancer.

Hang in there-

 
Old 03-01-2010, 11:10 AM   #6
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Re: pneumonia confused with lung cancer?

Hi again, thank you both for your good thoughts and concerns!

Well, Mom is home from the hospital, the heart attack seemed to be mild, they did not see any blockages or anything of that sort, so that's good. But the cancer, apparently they STILL do not know what kind. Last week I was there when the doc said it def was lung, now he's changing his tune again. he's not convinced that it's not still from her previous breast cancer of years ago. So, she is going to have a PET scan this week. I also want her to still have another opinion, but we can't have another opinion, till we know what this guy's opinion is, or can we?

I know it's cliche, but all this waiting is driving me nuts. I feel like every day that we wait, it grows more and more, and that's NOT RIGHT. Is there anything more we should be doing at this point, or is this doctor right on track with how to handle this?

I sure hope your mom gets a negative cancer report, I'll keep the good vibes flowing your way too!

Last edited by Rain820; 03-01-2010 at 11:10 AM.

 
Old 03-02-2010, 01:26 PM   #7
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Re: pneumonia confused with lung cancer?

I am so sorry to hear you are still in limbo--- I KNOW exactly how you feel and it is enough to drive you crazy. I dont see why you cant start getting another opinion -- even if the 1st one isnt in yet? The Dr you are seeing seems to be back and forth and that is concerning. Your first post mentioned a biopsy--- what did that reveal??? Was it inconclusive??
I am not sure where you live or what hospital you go to, but I would recommend a cancer center. Is there one in your area?

Your post is timely, we just met with my mom's thoracic surgeon this morning who specalizes in lung cancer and she assured us my mom doesn't have cancer. The follow up CT scan showed improvement and they are sure she has pneumonia (and some bronchiectasis) and not cancer. She recommended another scan in 2 months to ensure it is fully cleared. I really hope this is the case for your mom too.....

Keep us posted...

 
Old 05-07-2010, 02:05 PM   #8
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Re: pneumonia confused with lung cancer?

Hey sorry it's been so long for any updates...

I don't even recall wehre I left off here, but the bottom line is, Mom went through all the tests, 2nd opinions, etc. and they finally decided on a treatment, which she had started a few weeks ago. She is to have two rounds of chemo 3 weeks apart, and then they will do another PET scan to see if it has shrunk in any degree. This past Monday was her 2nd chemo treatment. So far, she has been dealing OK with it, just super tired and she can't walk that well. She has set up a visiting nurse and physical therapist to come to the house. Things ahve been going along fairly well, other than her being tired and still nervous, etc.

But now as of today, she's been admitted to the hospital for a transfusion. She said about 3 am this morning, she noticed some bleeding in the bathroom, but she knew she had a doc appointment set up anyway, so she figured she would wait. Once she told the doctor, I guess they wanted to admit her (I don't know the full story on that, my sis took her to the appointment and is still at the hospital with her). So now, I'm worried all over again...any idea what this could be? Could this be a side effect of the chemo somehow? I'm trying to to think of the worse, and I don't even want to type it out cuz that gives it SOME power, but if anyone has had a similar occurrance, i'd appreciate hearing about it.

Thank you

 
Old 12-13-2010, 08:12 AM   #9
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Re: pneumonia confused with lung cancer?

Hello all...Sorry I have not updated anything here in a few months. Things with Mom have gone through the usual roller coaster ride, but thankfully, she is still around. She had a round of chemo first. After that they did a CT scan and it showed significant improvement, and the doctors said that many people would just leave well enough alone, but that if she wanted to continue treatment, she could. They were surprised at how well she handled the chemo, given her age and other conditions, etc. This is often the case with my Mom. when they diagnosed her, the oncologist was the least positive one, thinking she wouldn't make it at all through treatment. My mom said she put it in her mind to prove them wrong. So prove them wrong she did. She went ahead with the 2nd round of more agressive chemo AND radiation at the same time. This was in July. End of July, she finished all treatments, then the waiting game. Since then she's had a few scares, feelingo ut of breath, and more recently, Shingles. So she has been in and out of the docs and/or hospital numerous times. Now as of a few weeks ago, she had the 2nd CT scan and they told her it was great, seems like the cancer is "beat" or at least, shrunk enough for now. Of course they said this does not mean that it can't come back. This should have been the best news ever. However, I have not seen ANY improvement in her mood. I know it must be horrible to feel all the pain she still feels, but I thought that news would lift her spirits a bit.

There was a brief span of time where she was getting around better and not getting out of breath so much. But now she seems worse thjan when she wa going through the treatments. This weekend, I was going out, and she had to call my sisters to come sit with her. They think that she has bouts of anxiety and that leads to her not being able to breath. I agree, but I notice she has been this way and out of breath even when I'm there. I keep trying to think of what it could be, I know she's not eating good at all, and I keep trying to get her to eat more nutritious stuff. She has no appetite, but has no problem eating junk. However the last few days, even the junk isn't worrking. One of my guesses is that she's just too low on energy and that is making her not get around and breath well (or decently for all she's been through). Also, I asked her yesterday if she had been still doing her breath excercises that she got from her last hospital visit. She has two of those breath into the tube things. She said yes, but I'm betting the answer is really no.

In any case, my sister is now on the way to sit with her again. I am going to tel her to take her to the hospital to have it all checked out. I really hope it's nothing new setting in again, because it's extremely frustrating and to me would seem TOO soon for something else to be going on that they haven't caught yet. She's been having CT scans, xrays, bloodwork, and check ups steadily since the treatments stopped. I just want her to feel a LITTLE better while she can, in case it does come back. I know it's cliche to say, but it's not fair.

Any thoughts on what could be going on with her?

 
Old 12-27-2010, 05:55 PM   #10
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Re: pneumonia confused with lung cancer?

Hi,
I'm so glad that you posted. I hope your mom is feeling better and eating better. But I don't have any answers for you. Perhaps you could help me? I am 49 years old and was in the hospital for 7 days with pneumonia. A CT scan showed a possible mass. When i was d/c'ed from the hospital, my xray showed minimal improvement in my pneumonia. (I had been on 2 IV antibiotics plus Z pack).
So I have a follow up ct scan scheduled and see a pulmonary doctor on 1/13/11. I hate this waiting game. I started smoking when i was 12. I hate the waiting. Any thoughts or advice? Thanks.

 
Old 03-02-2011, 06:31 AM   #11
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Re: pneumonia confused with lung cancer?

My mom's story is almost simialar. She has had breast cancer which she beat, also lung cancer 3 years ago. She was hospitalizied for pneumonia last week. She is now home but I'm wondering if she has a tumor that they are not detecting. Maybe hidden with scar tissue as one Doctor thought. I'm so frustrated with everything, because when she was diagnosed last time with lung cancer by PET scan she had pneumonia then.

I hope your Mom is ok and my prayers are with you.

 
Old 05-18-2011, 06:59 AM   #12
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Re: pneumonia confused with lung cancer?

Hi Everyone. I am new to this Forum thing. Reading your posts has given my hope but I still have a few questions? My Dad has had a PET scan and went for the results at the hospital Friday. He was told it LOOKS like cancer and he is to be sent to Guys Hospital for more tests (he went in on his own as he didnt want us in the room). Does this mean it is Cancer? or something else? He was told there is a shadow on his left lung. It came a bit of a shock really because he is well in himself as he has always been, no weight loss, spitting blood etc???? The only thing is he has a little phlemy cough. I have known him to have ever since I can remember as I put it down to a smokers cough.
Could it be something else or can they tell from the scans exactly what it is??? Also what is the next test?
I will chec this post daily
Thanks x

 
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