Nov 24, 2013 - 11:22 am
I am new to this forum, unfortunately not new to having cancer. I had a stage III melanoma in 2005, then stage III NSLC in 2008, and beat both. After chemo and radiation for the lung cancer I had a PET every 6 months for 3 years, then another after 4, then this past June I had a final followup scan, a regular CT. It came back clean.
In August I started having difficulty swallowing occasionally. By Octoober it was happening frequently, so I saw my oncologist and got a referral to a GI doc. A barium swallow showed something in my esophagus, so had an upper GI endo done. My esophagus was almost entirely closed off. The biopsy came back as squamous cell esophageal cancer.
Had a PET a little over a week ago, and there's a good sized mass on the esophagus. One lymph node. But there is also an area on the top of my lung. It is also pretty large. I was in such shock looking at the scan with my doctor that I didn't ask how big these are, and the PET report doesn't say. I'll ask him at my next appointment. I'm guessing at 3-5 cm easy.
My oncologist says the lung mass could be a metasteses of the esophagus cancer, or it could be a recurrence of the lung cancer, no way to tell from a PET. I'm going to have to get a biopsy to determine what it is. He says his gut feeling is that it is the esophagus cancer.
I asked him how this could not have been seen in the CT 5 months earlier? He hemmed and hawed a bit and said the esophagus was hard to image in a CT. Basically avoided a direct answer. Same for the lung mass. He's a great doc, but I've been around enough to know these guys cover each other's backs. I work for a large hospital organization and deal with the culture daily.
So a few questions:
Has anyone had their cancer discovered on a CT at a fairly early stage?
How fast does this cancer develop? If the lung mass is in fact esophageal cancer then this is stage IV. If it was too small to be seen 5 months earlier in a CT could it possibly have grown and spread that fast?
I am going to ask the imaging center to have the CT looked at again, but it will be a radiologist in the same group and I don't expect s straightforward answer. Does anyone know how I would go about having an independant radiologist review the CT?
I just have a feeling that this might have been noticed if the CT had been looked at carefully. If the reading radiologist screwed up then he needs to be made aware of it.
As far as treatment, I am basically screwed. Two surgeons looked at the scan and said it can't be operated on unless it can be shrunk. I had radiation to esophagus in 2008 for the lung cancer and can't get more. I start chemo tomorrow and my oncologist says there's a 30% chance it will shrink the tumor and we csn see if we can find a surgeon willing to operate. No discussion on the lung yet, guess we are waiting on the biopsy.