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Post-surgery Follow-up

Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2004

My father was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer 2.5 months ago. My family has been very lucky in that the cancer was treatable through surgery. About 2 weeks ago he had the top-most lobe of his right lung removed and is recovering nicely. He had a follow-up exam with his thorasic surgeon a few days ago and was told that there was no trace of cancer in the surrounding tissue and lymphnodes and that he was "cured". Again we are extremely lucky. However, he said nothing to my father about follow-up exams to monitor his lungs. Everything I have read about lung cancer speaks of its aggressiveness and its likelihood to recurr and I have also read that it is important to have checkups often, especially in the first few years, to increase your chances of catching a recurrence as early as possible.

Has anyone else been told "you're cured" by your surgeon and led to believe that no other follow-ups are necessary? What have been your experiences?

I know for certain that after my father has had some more time to recover that I will be raising the issue with my family so we can discuss it together and ask some questions. We don't want to take any chances with something as serious as this.


Plymouthean's picture
Posts: 264
Joined: Jan 2004

Hi. I'm a three year nsclc, stage IIIa survivor. I had the top 40% of my right lung removed. My information is that the generally accepted "cured" point is five years. After surgery, I had follow-up radiation (10 treatments) and chemo (three monthly cycles). I then had monthly follow-up visits with my oncologist, with CT scans every three months. After one year, my visits were cut to every three months for one year, then every six months. CT scans scheduled accordingly, so that at each visit, the doctor has a new scan to evaluate. It may be that your dad's oncologist is telling you that surgery was successful, but I don't think that he meant "cured" in the strict sense of the word. On the other hand, don't be paranoid about it. But I would look to the doctor for follow-up visits and chest x-rays/scans.
There is a phenomenon experienced by many patients after treatment and/or surgery. After seeing the doctors so often during treatment, we sometimes feel abandoned when we go to a schedule of follow-up visits, which now seem very far apart. We worry that something might happen in the meantime. That's very normal, and the worry goes away.

Chum's picture
Posts: 1
Joined: Dec 2004

I was diagnosed with NSClC - Staged 1a last month. Had my upper right lobe taken out and am a cancer survivor. My doctor (at Memorial Sloan-Kettering) asked me to come back in three months to follow up. I expect to come back every three months. Tell your father to get another opinion. He MUST have a check-up. I'm in the "good" group of T1a - yet there is a significant possibility of recurrence. How odes one explain that there is only a 50% to 85% survival rate if cancer doesn't come back?

Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2005

I just had a upper right lobectomy, and it has been 2 weeks I am still in extreme discomfort, I find I have a terrible pains in my right breast (female) Have you suffered through any of this discomfort, and how long before you started to feel pain free. Thank you.

Neshel's picture
Posts: 5
Joined: Mar 2005

Hi I'm new to the site just diagnosed in Sept. of 2004 that I had a "Carcinoid Tumor" in my right lung. My pneumonectomy, and partial pericardium (the removal of the lining surrounding the heart)was done in Sept. and the surgery went well, however the pain is still very uncomfortable. The pain is also in the breast and extends around to the rib cage. My doctor says that after having a major surgery like that, that it takes quite a while for the body to heal. I hope and pray that you get some comfort and relief from your pain. Ask your doctor about Neurontin. Get Well.


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