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Lung cancer

Posts: 28
Joined: Feb 2011

My mom had a back pain. Doctors were treating her for a pulled muscles until she had a CT scan that revealed tumors on her lung and on her shoulder blade. The neurosurgeon operated on the tumor in her back and removed as much as he could. He is very sure that what she has is a cancer but couldn't tell us any more details before the biopsy results come back next week. She had the surgery on Monday and seems that she is doing well after the surgery. I live in the states but she doesn't.I am very scared and trying to know how dangerous is the cancer she got. Is it considered stage four since they found tumors on her back? or not necessarily . Can the surgeon evaluate her case before seeing an oncologist?.

Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

When a surgeon removes some tissue, they will examine it under a microscope. I was one very curious patient when I was first diagnosed with cancer and I even looked up what different kinds of cancer look like by searching the internet. I was nuts with worry and I wanted to know lots more than just the fact I had cancer. It wasn't necessary but that was my way of coping. While it was kind of like looking at inkblots at first, it was very evident that cancer cells look like crazy versions of regular cells. Their cell wall is irregular rather than regular and the nucleus (the genetic dark part of the cell) was really odd looking compared to normal cells. It didn't take me, a lay person, long to be able to recognize cancer from normal tissue. But while a surgeon may immediately recognize that the tissue is cancer, a pathologist is the cell specialist that will do tests and determine what kind of cancer or benign tumor the tissue is. Sometimes it takes some time for the pathologist to do tests and write that report. It makes a difference what kind of cancer it is. Different treatments work on different kinds of cancer. So I am sure they will test the tissue to try to find out what kind of problem they are dealing with. That biopsy report is the pathologist's report. It will probably state what stage the cancer is. Even if it is cancer, until the oncologist knows what kind of cancer it is treatment can't be decided.

There are many folks on this board with stage 4 cancer. That is when the cancer has left the primary location where it started and has begun to set up camp in distant locations. Stage 4 cancer may not be considered curable, but don't let that make you give up hope. Stage 4 cancer is treatable. Chemotherapy is usually used to combat cancer that has begun traveling away from where it first started. Sometimes radiation is used as well. Your mom's oncologist will work from the path report and surgeon's observations to design the best treatment plan they can for your mom.

If it turns out your mom has lung cancer, this board will be a good place to ask questions. If it is another kind of cancer, there are many different boards on this website where you can go. Cancer diagnosis and treatment is hard enough. You don't have to go it alone. There are lots of folks to help if you need it. Come back with your questions anytime. The chat room is a great place for asking questions too! Good luck!

Posts: 28
Joined: Feb 2011

Thanks for the explanation. The pathologist report came back today and my sister was told that she had a pulmonary cancer with bone metastasis and that it is growing very fast. I am not sure what this exactly means. I know that she has stage 4 lung cancer but I am scared that her case might be very advanced to be treated. We haven't talked to the oncologist yet. He is supposed to talk to my sister tomorrow and hopefully thing will get clearer.


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