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Continuous pain months after lung surgery

Posts: 13
Joined: Mar 2007

When my left upper lung lobe was removed in February of 2007, I had the normal pain and soreness for a few weeks afterwards. Then the pain slowly started getting better. Now I am having pain upon deep breathing in my bronchial tubes and swear that I feel pain in my right lung. My doctor says that when cancer recurs, you usually don't have pain in the early stages, but the cancerous nodule in my left lung did cause me pain. What I'm wondering is this. How long does it take for cancer to recur? I know everyone is different, and it depends on the type of cancer, etc. But has anyone out there ever had their cancer recur in as little as 3-4 months after surgery? This is a constant worry in my life, so much so that it interferes with my daily living routine. I just can't seem to take it one day at a time. All I can think about is the cancer coming back. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

They do CAT scans on me every 3-4 months, so I don't have to worry (except maybe about glowing in the dark from all that radioactivity!!!). I dislike exposing my body to all that stuff, but it sounds like you would appreciate the chance to check things out. Why don't you ask if the test, at least for the first year, be every 4 months? Or see how much it would be to pay for a CAT scan out of pocket? It might not be as much as you fear and it might help you sleep better. I still have coughing after almost a year though no cancer. I take a bit of vitamin C (down to two pills a day now) to dry up things and make me cough a bit less. The over the counter drugs just made me woozy. Ibruprofen helps with soreness from time to time. As for when cancer reoccurs, I hope it never does!! I have stage 1 and there is a good chance I won't have to deal with more surgery. If it does come back, I can lose up to 1 lung without problems, but we'll cross that bridge if and when we come to it. Different cancers have different levels of aggressiveness. Mine is supposed to be rather laid back but has the draw back of sometimes reappearing in the other lung. You can look up what is in the path report and find out what the general "personality" of your cancer is on the internet. But remember, what you have is very specific. The internet and your doctor cannot tell you about your particular cancer, only about what most people with that kind of cancer experienced. A pulmonary specialist might be a useful person to check over your tests. You might have no cancer but still have a problem that is treatable if diagnosed. Good luck!

Posts: 13
Joined: Mar 2007

Thanks for answering Cabbott. I recently saw my doctor and he went ahead and had an xray done on me. I get another CT scan in August, which is in about 8 weeks, so I think I can tough it out until then. I went and saw my internist Friday about my concerns and he seemed to think my fears were nothing to worry about. He told me to try and quit worrying so much, that he had every confidence in the world that the cancer would not come back. I had adenocarcinoma, the slow moving cancer. It was a little over three years from the time the nodule appeared until the time it started growing and they did surgery, so it wasn't a very aggressive type of cancer. When I see my doctor the next time I will ask if it's possible to have a CT scan done every 4 months. I think that would make me feel a lot better. As far as coughing, I have had about 3 coughing spells since my surgery. That scared me for I didn't know if it was normal or not, but after you mentioned your coughing spells I felt better. It was like a bad tickle in my throat that just wouldn't go away. I already have a pulmonary specialist keeping an eye on me and he's the one who suggested CT scans every 6 months, so neither he nor my internist feels it's important to get tested any sooner than that. But you know as well as I do what it's like to go through something like this. Every little symptom makes you worry about the cancer being back again. I just had bloodwork done and all of the results were normal. That's a great sign because when I had cancer, all of my bloodwork was abnormal. I just needed someone to let me know that I'm not losing my mind worrying needlessly. Thanks again and good luck to you also!!

Posts: 30
Joined: Jan 2006

My situation is almost identical to yours 3 years, nodule stage 1a. I elected to also have chemo about 4 months after the surgery "just in case they missed something" It was strange because every doc I asked said that the evidence was inconclusive that it would help and did not recomend it but each also said that if it was them or a member of their family they would have the chemo. I had my surgery November 2006. Like you I worry that every little change is a reoccurance. I am fortunate in that my doctors monitor very carefully and for the first 2 years I get cat scans every 3 month. At 3 years I get them every four etc. I had my surgery and chemo at MD Anderson in TX and have all my followup done there. They are great and very professional and are never ever dismissive of my concerns which I greatly appreciate. In my case the pain has never gone away and at this point Im told it will not so I have adjusted. Good luck

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