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HOW LONG SHOULD IT TAKE FROM CANCER FOUND TO BIOPSY????????????????

SamanthaBrophy
Posts: 24
Joined: May 2011

My mother in law was diagnosed with lung cancer about two weeks ago, she had whatever test done and found out that she has a 5cm mass in one lung and small pieces in the other. I'm wondering how long it should take from when they diagnosed her with cancer to her biopsy??????????? please help

Glenna M's picture
Glenna M
Posts: 1580
Joined: May 2009

I am surprised that her doctor would diagnose her as having cancer before she had the biopsy and got the results. It's not cancer til the biopsy results say it is.

The time between the other tests and the biopsy depends on her doctor and the facility where she will be getting the biopsy performed. They scheduled my biopsy for two days after I received the results of the CT scan. The time it takes to get the results varies also, I usually have to wait a few days to a week while others have received their results within a day or two.

Please post again and let us know what is happening.

My best,
Glenna

SamanthaBrophy
Posts: 24
Joined: May 2011

Hi,
I'm worried now just because her doctor was pretty adiment. He said to her that it was cancer. they did a few tests since then but not a biopsy. her family doctor is the one who originally diagnosed her with cancer, then referred her to have some sort of xray where they said that she has a 5cm mass in her right lung and bits in her left, but she also said that for some reason she thinks the cancer bits in the left lung may be comming from somewhere else. her family doctor when he diagnosed her said that she May die from this. the reason she went to the doctor and was diagnosed is because she has severe pain in her chest and back(shoulder blades behind lungs). shes very weak, ande lost some weight. Im just wondering if they cant forsure diagnose cancer without a biopsy and this is what both doctors are saying, should we be getting a second opinion or something. its odd but to a certain degree the family has come to terms with the fact that she has cancer and were going to fight hard to help. but what your saying is not to get your hopes us or anything but its POSSIBLE that it could be something else?
thank you
Samantha

lekkerone
Posts: 199
Joined: Jan 2011

how cancer could be diagnosed without a conclusive biopsy. To answer your question, it was about 6 weeks between my CT scan and my broncoscopy. That bronco..was not a good one so had another one and this one didn't show any cancer. However my respirologist was convinced there was something there. Then I had a needle biopsy, perfusion scan, two stress tests, mediastinoscopy (sp) and a few I have forgotten about. I had the left lower lobe removed and a cancer diagnosis was made after the biopsy of the removed tissue.
I know that my route was long and probably unusual but your mother in law's diagnosis seems a bit quick to me.
Please keep us updated.

Glenna M's picture
Glenna M
Posts: 1580
Joined: May 2009

I definitely would be getting a second opinion...now!! I still find it hard to believe that a good doctor would tell her that it's cancer before she had a biopsy. He may say that there's a chance it's cancer but he can't tell her definitely without a biopsy.

There's a gentleman who posts on here occasionally who was sure his lungs were full of cancer but it turned out to be pneumonia after all the tests were done. So happy for him!! There is always a chance that it's something other than cancer. My doctor's found another tumor in my lung after doing my last CT scan and even though I've had lung cancer this DOES NOT mean that I have cancer again. I'm waiting for another scan at the end of this month which will show if it has grown or stayed the same. It could even have disappeared, even if it's still there it doesn't mean it's malignant.

PLEASE, don't just accept a cancer diagnosis and plan for the worst. Get her to another doctor who will schedule a biopsy.

Keep us posted,
Glenna

cabbott
Posts: 1046
Joined: Aug 2006

When doctors look at cells under a microscope they can definately tell when the cells are cancer cells. The cancer cells are irregular in shape and the nuclei (spots in the middle holding all the genetic material)are also funny looking. Even then they don't know exactly for sure what kind of cancer they are looking at until the pathologist runs a few tests. It makes a difference to find out so they pick the right treatment plan for the patient. Lots of kinds of cancer from other parts of the body could travel to the lung and set up camp (called a met) and they each have their own particular chemotherapy treatment plans. When the spots are in a shot gun pattern, the doctors may suspect a met from another part of the body. Primary lung cancer usually is in one mass. There are exceptions to this (and I have one of those exceptions) but the doctors will know for sure when they examine the biopsied tissues.

While things are still uncertain before those tests are done, there are some cases where the mass on a CAT scan, which may be what test you are referring to above, looks so much like cancer that the doctors are fairly certain about what it is. The CAT scan can pick up the shape of the mass and the organ it is in. Cancer is a word that means crab. Cancer tumors invade the organ where they are found like the arms of a crab. They can also travel to other parts of the body where they do the same. A biopsy is still needed to make sure of what kind of cancer it is.

Some busy thoracic surgeons have a 1 month waiting list for folks needing biopsies and surgeries. Some general surgeons in small towns can get you in within the week. If the biopsy is an easy one that doesn't require major surgery, you could go to either one. If the spot is very low or deep within the lung, major surgery is needed. In that case, VATS procedures are much easier to recover from and it may be worth the 1 month wait. Some folks can't have either surgery because of their general state of health. If that is the case, the doctors may have to make an educated guess as to what they are dealing with. Nothing is wrong with getting two or even three opinions. Cancer takes time to double. If you have to wait a month to get to an outstanding doctor or wait for your mom to be well enough, I wouldn't panic. I also would not wait a whole lot longer to find out what you are dealing with and settle on a treatment plan. While cancer takes time to double, it will double in time.

deltafun's picture
deltafun
Posts: 50
Joined: Apr 2011

I had to wait 10 days because I was taking aspirin. THen waited another aftre that. I must say it wsa the longest 12 days of my life.

Ex_Rock_n_Roller's picture
Ex_Rock_n_Roller
Posts: 268
Joined: Mar 2011

They did mine very fast, inside a week from the visit to the allergist (they were chasing non-existent asthma) to scope and biopsy. In my case it was very easy to reach, which probably sped things up. Without looking it up, I recall no more than a day, maybe two, between the various visits. No fooling around.

NayPaul's picture
NayPaul
Posts: 231
Joined: Oct 2010

We had an xray on a Thursday, ct on a Friday. That was the same day we received the informal diagnosis. Monday we had a biopsy, by Monday afternoon we had official confirmation.

PBJ Austin
Posts: 346
Joined: Mar 2009

About 2 years ago I went to the ER for severe pain while breathing. They did a CT scan and found a lung mass that measured rougly 7.3 x 6 x 5cm. The ER doc told me with great certainty this must be cancer, as it would be very unusual for something this large not to be cancer. I am quoting him almost word for word, as best I can remember.

Well guess what--It was NOT cancer!!

Before we had that answer here's what happened: They kept doing biopsies where they found no cancer, yet they didn't know what it was so they wouldn't rule out cancer. Finally after the 3rd biopsy they were pretty sure it was not cancer but still didn't know what was going on. By that time I was very sick and my lung was pretty messed up so they did an upper right lobectomy and discovered it was a bad infection.

With all 3 biopsies I got results within 2 days. As others have mentioned, a biopsy is imperative and you should not accept this diagnosis without a biopsy.

Please get a second opinion immediately. And don't get that second opinion from someone referred to you by your current doctor. Find someone completely new and unbiased. Good luck.

Glenna M's picture
Glenna M
Posts: 1580
Joined: May 2009

Thank you for responding to this post, you were the one I was referring to in my earlier post but I was thinking it was pneumonia not an infection.

Hope you are still doing well.
Glenna

PBJ Austin
Posts: 346
Joined: Mar 2009

I didn't realize you were talking about me, I'm so flattered you remember me. You were right about me having pneumonia, but that was after they had already discovered the mass in my lung. They had been trying to shrink the mass with drugs but it wasn't working. Then I got pneumonia and kept getting sicker so they decided it's time to stop piddling around and take out the lobe.

I live in Austin, TX hence the screen name. Unfortunately that makes me appear to be male, others on this board have thought the same. But last time I checked (and I do check often) I am female. ;-)

In case anyone is wondering, the reason I stick around this board is because I can answer questions about the needle biopsy, the broncoscopy, the EBUS, the PET scan and the lobectomy because I've been there, done that. So while I am not a cancer survivor I can help to some point. I also know what it's like to have a family member with cancer, as my kid sister is now in remission from her brain cancer. She was proclaimed incurable just 2 years ago and they said she would never go in remission but she did it anyway. My kid sis never does what she is supposed to do and in this case I'm glad.

I am feeling very well, and I hope the same for you and all on this board.

Pam

Glenna M's picture
Glenna M
Posts: 1580
Joined: May 2009

Pam, I am so sorry, I have no idea why I thought you were a guy. I don't think I ever saw your name on any of your previous posts but I could be wrong.

I remember you well, your story had such a good ending...NO cancer. I can still remember how happy we all were for you when you were given this great news. Also very happy to hear that you sister is doing so well, tell her to keep disobeying orders and she will live to a ripe old age :)

Stay well and keep posting, your experience can help many others and you know a lot about the tests and fears we all go through.

Stay well,
Glenna

PBJ Austin
Posts: 346
Joined: Mar 2009

I've been mistaken for being male on this sight before so it's no problem. I should not have chosen a screen name including a male name like Austin. Silly me, I thought everyone would know I live in Austin, TX but instead they all think I'm a guy named Austin.

Now if you saw me in person and mistook me for being a man, that might upset me...

:-D

dearfoam's picture
dearfoam
Posts: 82
Joined: Apr 2011

the first biopsy would've been a week from the initial discovery of tumors in lungs and brain plus affected lymph node in groin, but it was tried on the suspected lymph node, which was actually some kind of scarred vein. i had to move my dad in the interim and get him into docs in my town. they did a needle biopsy in lung about 4 weeks after (delayed by insurance problems), resulting in a collapsed lung, and then had to do a vasc procedure to get the right sample. all in all, it was about 6 weeks of waiting to get the proper sample.

in the meantime, it was apparent to my dad's docs here and where he had his inital scans out of state, that he had metastasized cancer and they were able to begin emergency treatments on his brain before the biopsy. that is to say some well-trained doctors CAN tell it is cancer by the CT and MRI scans, but it surely varies from patient to patient. I am lucky to live near a highly-renowned cancer center.

Kimmiann
Posts: 46
Joined: Feb 2011

I was 3 weeks from chest xray to lobectomy. I had a chest xray, CT and then a PET scan. Never had a biopsy as the suv on the PET was high enough that they were fairly certain it was cancer. Surgeon did a wedge and sent to pathology while I was on the table. Once confirmed that it was adenocarcinoma the surgeon continued on to remove the rest of the lobe.

Julie2011
Posts: 58
Joined: May 2011

How are you doing since your surgery? Hope your well.

patriley
Posts: 7
Joined: Jul 2010

I had a biopsy on Monday and got the results on Wednesday afternoon. It should only take at moste 72 hours.

SamanthaBrophy
Posts: 24
Joined: May 2011

thank you but i;m actually trying to digure out how long it should take from the day you go to the doctor and they "diagnose you with cancer" to the day you go for your actual Biopsy.
she was diagnose like 3 weeks ago and she not going for like a week still.

Glenna M's picture
Glenna M
Posts: 1580
Joined: May 2009

Doctors can not diagnose it as cancer until after they see the biopsy results, they may say they think it's cancer or it looks like cancer but the biopsy is the only way to truly determine that it is cancer. I'm wondering why her doctor is waiting a month for the biopsy if he is so sure it is cancer, the biopsy is how they will tell what type of cancer she has.

I had a biopsy within a couple of days after my tumor was discovered from the CT scan and was scheduled for the rest of the testing and had started treatment in less than a month.

PBJ Austin
Posts: 346
Joined: Mar 2009

Samantha, as Glenna and others have pointed out, they cannot properly diagnose cancer BEFORE the biopsy. Pardon the cliché but that's putting the cart before the horse. They can only speculate it is cancer (as they mistakenly did with me) but there is no actual diagnosis until after the biopsy is done and the pathology reports are in. I am very surprised they are waiting so long to do a biopsy, as most of us had it done within a few days of the discovery of abnormal growth.

Dapsterd's picture
Dapsterd
Posts: 291
Joined: Jun 2010

5 working days max from biopsy to conclusion of biopsy, wether cancer or whatever. Experienced Docs can tell prior to biposy results, but the biopsy results from the pathologist is the ultimate authority/conclusion.

kskumargie
Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2011

My father has undergone a series of tests suggested by doctor, including CT scan, sputum test (which showed there is no blood content), etc. Now dr have taken sample for biopsy. 2 months before he had pnemonia. This time started with breathlessness and chest pain. I am really worried about the result. The CT scan images shows a very small white mass in the right part of the lungs. Can someone plz comment, what would be the pathologist comment. Some of them are telling tht it will be the infection of pnemonia.

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