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Old 03-12-2004, 08:13 AM   #1
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moily HB User
Question question about dormant cancer cells

My sister had cervical cancer in 1990 (squamous cell carcinoma) which she received a histerectomy only for, no radiation. Now in 2004 she has stage 4 non small lung cancer in which they are saying they're not sure it started in the lungs. My question is, could the stray cells from the cervical cancer have been in her body all this time?

 
Old 03-12-2004, 05:18 PM   #2
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Re: question about dormant cancer cells

Quote:
Originally Posted by moily
My sister had cervical cancer in 1990 (squamous cell carcinoma) which she received a histerectomy only for, no radiation. Now in 2004 she has stage 4 non small lung cancer in which they are saying they're not sure it started in the lungs. My question is, could the stray cells from the cervical cancer have been in her body all this time?
Yes, the cancer cells could have been in her body. If they did not find evidence of spread to lymph nodes, they probably thought it was cancer in situ. However, if even one tiny cancer cell escaped detection it could have begun its own little colony.
On the other hand, it could be coincidental that the cancer in the lungs started at the same time the cervical cancer did because whatever made the body vulnerable to the cervical cancer also allowed the cancer to invade the lungs. Cancer never has easy answers.

 
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Old 03-12-2004, 06:41 PM   #3
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SamQKitty HB UserSamQKitty HB UserSamQKitty HB UserSamQKitty HB UserSamQKitty HB UserSamQKitty HB UserSamQKitty HB UserSamQKitty HB UserSamQKitty HB UserSamQKitty HB UserSamQKitty HB User
Re: question about dormant cancer cells

I think it's probably coincidental that she now has non-small cell lung cancer. First of all, squamous cell and non-small cell are two very different types of cancer, and one does not mutate into the other.

Second, if her cancer had spread from the cervix, it would have spread first to places other than the lungs. The bladder, the lymph nodes in the groin, etc., are much closer to the cervix and would likely have been affected before it got to the lung.

I'm sorry to hear about your sister. I know this must be a terrible time for you and your family, but never give up. And you may want to check out the Lung Cancer board, as I know of at least one person on there who has been surviving for well over a year with very advanced lung cancer, and he's doing reasonable well at the moment. There are some amazing treatments nowadays that, if they can't cure, can certainly extend life quite a bit.

Ruth

 
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