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Plueral effusion

Tina Brown's picture
Tina Brown
Posts: 1054
Joined: Nov 2009

My cancer was diagnosed after I suffered double plueral effusion. I underwent 3 chest drains within 2/3 weeks of each other before I started on my chemo regime. 4 weeks into my treatment I was back in hospital having my 4th chest drain.

The irony of this was like a kick in the teeth as I was a road runner and used to run half marathons. My biggest concern throughout all of these procedures was not "the cancer" but was "Will I still be able to run?" I was assured by my surgeon that "yes, having a chest drain will not impair your lung function"

However now I have been given a break from chemo and am desperately trying to get back into my running. I had a 5th chest drain last Christmas and after my last CT scan was told I had scarring from all of the procedures.

So, I am trying to build up my running. I know my fitness is getting back in shape as I am able to swim. I went running last night and found myself breathing really hard and at times was struggling. I stopped at one point to be able to get my breath back. It feels like I have a steel band around the bottom of my lungs where the diaphram is and now, today, I just feel bruised.

Sorry to go on, but what I am trying to ask is, has anyone else had:

1. Problems with plueral effusion?
2. Had reoccuring soreness, pain or tightning of the chest after a chest drain?

I ask my oncologist but he is not a lung specialist and all he can say to me "Are you struggling to breathe when you are going about your normal day to day life" When I reply that I am fine and I can manage all of my normal activities he is not concerned.

Tina xxxx

gdpawel's picture
gdpawel
Posts: 549
Joined: May 2001

Tina

My wife received talc pleurodesis secondary to ovarian cancer back in 1972. She went twenty-four years before experiencing any recurrent ovarian cancer.

A study published in the European Respiratory Journal revealed that talc stimulates healthy cells to produce endostatin, a hormone considered the magic bullet for treating metastatic lung cancer. The University of Florida researchers say talc is an exciting new therapeutic agent for cancers largely considered incurable.

They found that talc causes tumor growth to slow down and actually decreases the tumor bulk. Talc is able to prevent the formation of blood vessels, thereby killing the tumor and choking off its growth. The tumors appeared to grow much slower and in some cases completely disappeared.

Scientists have only recently discovered that talc stunts tumor growth, though the mineral has been used for almost 70 years to treat the respiratory problems that accompany metastatic lung cancer. About half of all patients accumulate fluid around the surface of the lungs, a condition known as malignant pleural effusion. That fluid can press down upon the lung, impair the breathing of the patient and cause the patient to feel very short of breath.

Pleural effusions indicate that the cancer, which might have started in the breast, lung or gastrointestinal tract, has spread throughout the body.

To make life more bearable for these patients, doctors close the extra space between the lung and the chest wall, where the troublesome fluid collects. The trick is gluing the two surfaces together. Talc is blown into the patients' chest cavity to irritate the tissue and create tiny abrasions. When the lung tissue heals, it becomes permanently adhered to the chest wall without impairing the patients' breathing. The effects of the procedure, called medical thoracoscopy with talc pleurodesis, are immediate and last a lifetime.

The Food and Drug Administration approved talc for use in medical thoracoscopy in 2003.

Talc has added benefits besides causing scarring and taking away the fluid that surrounds the lung. The cells that cover the lining of the lung are stimulated by the presence of talc to produce a factor that inhibits the growth of blood vessels and kills the tumor cells themselves.

Less than one day after treatment with talc, patients began producing 10-fold higher levels of endostatin, a hormone released by healthy lung cells. Endostatin prevents new blood vessels from forming, slows cell growth and movement, and even induces nearby tumor cells to commit suicide. All of these make it hard for tumors to grow and spread into healthy lung tissue.

What is being done is the normal pleural mesothelial cells continue to produce endostatin. Talc doesn't go away. Talc stays in the chest cavity, constantly causing the normal cells to produce this factor that inhibits the growth of the tumor. And the antitumor effects of talc appear to be long-lasting.

Source: University of Florida

http://news.ufl.edu/2007/06/06/talcum/

Greg

Tina Brown's picture
Tina Brown
Posts: 1054
Joined: Nov 2009

Thank you Greg for your reply. That was so interesting and I am going to print it off and show my oncologist next time I see him. You see, they have only done the talc procedure to my right lung and everytime I have a CT scan my right lung is alwaysa clear of fluid. However, my left lung had malignant fluid around it last November. I had chemo & it went away somewhat. But now I fear it may be creeping back and want my doctor to do the talc procedure for my left lung. I have had numerous chest drains and was told at one point that they can't do it because I have scaring? I find this hard to believe because if the fluid can get in there then so could the talc?

Thank you Tina x

gdpawel's picture
gdpawel
Posts: 549
Joined: May 2001

Tina

I vividly remember, after her extrapleural lobectomy in 1996, for her metastatic transdiaphragmatic tumor from her original ovarian caner in 1972, the thoracic surgical oncologist telling me the talc oozed down to the bottom of the cavity and was as hard as rock. She had to literally use a hammer and chisle to clean it all out.

Besides talc causing scarring and taking away the fluid that surrounds the lungs, the cells that cover the lining of the lung are stimulated by the presence of talc to produce a factor that inhibits the growth of blood vessels and kills tumor cells themselves. It seems that my wife's 24 years without any recurrence gives some credence to the 2007 study at the University of Florida.

Greg

Tina Brown's picture
Tina Brown
Posts: 1054
Joined: Nov 2009

Once again further evidence to support a talc procedure to my left lung. I thank-you for this information and hope to be able to have this done soonest.

Thank-you Greg. Tina x

AnneBehymer's picture
AnneBehymer
Posts: 739
Joined: Jul 2011

I also had plueral effusion I had to have both lungs drain two times each. I have problems breathing when going up and down stairs and if I go for walks. I do have asthma so some of it can be that but since I had the plueral effusion I have noticed a differance in my breathing. It seem worst than before and I even said to my mom do you think my breathing will ever be back to normal. I hope so because now I can not walk more that 20 feet before I am out of breath. You will be in my prays

Anne

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