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How do they find what type of cancer it is?

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Old 03-12-2008, 05:06 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Dell Rapids, SD USA
Posts: 2
cindyk863 HB User
Question How do they find what type of cancer it is?

My father has blood tests regularly because he had been diagnosed with prostrate cancer about 5 years ago. They treated with radiation. They told him his blood test indicated that he has cancer somewhere. They have done a bone scan or an MRI and they told him they don't know where the cancer is. They know it isn't in the prostrate. Is it possible that they are not running any more tests because he has congestive heart failure? He still lives at home with my Mom and is on many medications, but not on oxygen.They have scheduled no more tests and just sent him home with the diagnosis that he has cancer, but can't tell him where. He would really like to know what type of cancer he has and how progressive it is, as would the rest of us. What should we ask them to do?

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Old 03-13-2008, 05:10 AM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: New York
Posts: 276
lilsis1071 HB User
Re: How do they find what type of cancer it is?

If all else fails get another opinion. Seems like they could do a pet-scan or something to find where it is. However like you say maybe because of the heart they are not. I am no doctor but if it was me I would want to get to the bottom line too. Are they going to treat him with any chemo or anything? Or just send him home and well thats it. Look up another doctor or find a cancer center to send him to.
May I ask how old your dad is? Sorry I couldnt be more help.


Old 03-13-2008, 04:29 PM   #3
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Dell Rapids, SD USA
Posts: 2
cindyk863 HB User
Re: How do they find what type of cancer it is?

His PSA test showed a level of 2, then 4 and now it is at 6.4. They have done 2 bone scans and can't find anything. They talked about treating him with hormones but his regular doctor said his heart can't take it. But they told him he needs to come back in 2 months and they will see what the changes are. But I still don't know know why they can't find it.
Thanks for any help anyone can give me.

Old 03-25-2008, 10:21 AM   #4
Laura B
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: South Florida
Posts: 350
Laura B HB User
Re: How do they find what type of cancer it is?

My girlfriend's husband also has prostrate cancer. He was told it was a very aggressive cancer. It happened about 10 years ago and he has to go for regular check-ups. They also told him that he has cancer somewhere else but they do not know where. He had all kinds of tests but they still don't not where. I guess it is a wait and see thing. He was a basket case in the beginning but now it's been about 10 years so he doing fine.

Old 03-27-2008, 09:12 PM   #5
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Posts: 6
mommyQ HB User
Re: How do they find what type of cancer it is?

My husband had cancer of the unknown primary. They drained fluid from his abdomen and found cancer cells. After 6 months of chemo and many specialists they do not know where it's from. He had no cancer markers and now nothing shows on scans or MRI. It is considered stage IV because it is metatastic. 2-4% of cancers they never find the primary. Yours probably originates from the first cancer. We went to MD Anderson for a second opinion and they were great, but there are a lot of great places.

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