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Posts: 9
Joined: Feb 2007

Went to OHSU in Portland and met with Thoracic Surgeon whose Specialty is Oncology. He went over all my tests and says 60% chance 1CM growth is Cancer. They will do a wedge resection and do immediate Pathology which Doctor says will confirm if Cancer. If it is they will do a lobectomy of upper lobe of left lung. Doctor says they will also check Lymph nodes to see if cancer has spread to any if so they will remove those also. He believes he can do all this with VATS. He says 3-7 day stay in hospital depending on what is acutally done and 2-4 weeks before returning to work. He doesn't expect to do any other therapy. Radiation or Chemo. I have a couple of quesions if anyone has any input.

1) Does all this sound like the right approach?
2) How much pain and problems can I expect after procedure if they need to remove upper lobe?
3) I have read alot and National Cancer Institute seems to suggest a lobectomy should be reconsidered for a small cancerous tumor because a reoccurrence is highly probable even when caught early. It sounds like if I were to have the Lobectomy and it reoccurs additional surgery is not likely, Anyone heard this or have any thoughts.


CinciRick's picture
Posts: 23
Joined: Apr 2007

Hi G Colburn,

Sorry to hear about your condition and possible upcomming surgery. I saw a special on Discovery channel a few weeks ago called "Living With Cancer" by Ted Koppel with Lance Amrstrong and Leroy Sievers. During the special Ted Koppel's long time friend Leroy Sievers was running out of options for his lung cancer when he was approached by a Dr to try "Radio Frequency Ablation" (RFA). It worked wonders for him. I did some research on the web and got pretty excited about this procedure. When I took the information to my oncologist he was aware of the procedure by said I was not a candidate because of the size and location of my tumors. I would recommend people look into this before deciding to go with the lobectomy. They do this at Mayo Clinic and at the "Cancer Treatment Centers of America"

Here are some links I saved while reading about this.


Leroy worked as a producer and reporter with Ted Koppel and he is a commentator on NPR. He keeps a blog of his fight with cancer.
There is a link to his blog on the NRP web site.

I hope things go well for you,
Cinci Rick

Greggriggs's picture
Posts: 132
Joined: Dec 2006

Hi G
Hope everything works out well.. My spelling is not the best so bare with me. I had my left lung removed in May of 2006. I thought I had a cold they did X-Rays didn't show any thing, It went away for a while . Then they sent me in for a Broncoscopy . They found a tumor on the upper left lobe. They did a biopsy while they were in with the scope an found it was nonsmall cell Cancer.Stage 3b or what ever I cant remember.
Then they did a PT scan that showed where it was an how large It also showed I had so in my lymphs. But it was all contained in my left lung.
The thing is My surgen told me You do not have cancer until they do a biopsy . So you just keep your fingers crossed an say a prayer.
(1) yep sounds like the right approach.
That is what they did my surgen told me They would do the pathology, an he would remove any thing that came back cancer as it turned out he did not want ot leave any cancer cells so he remove my whole lung.
(2)I was in the hospital 5 days. They don't let you get in Pain. The first walk down the hall scared me. But to tell the truth G. the pain is ntothing you can't handel an they give you enough Meds to keep you out of pain .Every one is different. so every ones pain is different
(3)You know The Doctor told me I could go back to work in 6 weeks . That all depends on how things go so do not push it.
Seems like every thing you read about cancer on the Web does not answer your questions.I still have things I can't get answers about..
Any way I was walking a mile an a half in six weeks an I am a old man 65 years old an smoked for fifty two years . You can beat it an remeber you don't have Cancer untill they do the tests.

Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2007

Greg: can you tell me where you had this surgery done.I live in NJ and have been diagnosed as Stage3b and have meet with oncologist tomorrow.Thanks,
login name is mamaleo
still trying to figure out how this emailing works

Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

Relax about the pain issue. They will give you lots of great drugs and tell you how to use them. I would stress a high fiber diet and some prunes (or whatever meds you prefer) to counteract the side effects of the pain medications. . . but that's another problem!!! I was mostly uncomfortable rather than in pain while I was in the hospital and when I was trying to sleep at home. I learned that crying is NOT an option when you are recovering from lung surgery: you HAVE to relax and breath slowly. Do your lung exercises they give you and take frequent walks after surgery as you are able. You will feel weak and bedbound when you first wake up (hey, the tubes will tie you down even if you feel great), but by the end of a day or two, you will be walking around the nurses station and heading home soon. A lot of the fatigue and weakness is a by-product of the anesthesia they give you rather than loss of lung power, but you will still want to work on increasing your lung power as you recover. As for how much lung needs to be removed, that depends on your type of lung cancer and its characteristics. If it is confined to just one lobe, the gold standard is to remove just the lobe. They will do all kinds of tests that will let them know if it has spread, if you have any infections or other problems going on, and so forth while you are in the operating room. Mostly they don't bother you with the details unless you have a need to know. But those surgeons care a lot about the details and they will take very good care of you. They will write up lots of reports which you can ask for when you come in for your follow up visits. You will want to keep a notebook with them to show your oncologist. The pulmonary oncologist specialist will decide what, if any, follow-up treatment would be useful. Many times surgery is sufficient when cancer is caught early, but there will be many CAT scans in your future to make sure it isn't coming back. I get one four times a year for the first two years. I will be coming up on my 1st year anniversary in August. As for long-term concerns, I still have areas that feel numb and "funny" since lung surgery. That comes from some cut nerves that may or may not recover. But I go to the gym every M-F (have since October) and I'm glad the cancer is gone. It was worth it! Good luck!

Posts: 30
Joined: Jan 2006

I also had a 1 cm nodule in my right upper lobe. After going for three opinions I settled on MD Anderson in Texas. At the time of my surgery they told me that if the biopsy indicated cancer they would remove the lobe. They would not do a vats as they felt that this sometimes had the effect of spreading the cancer. Foillowing the surgery I received 4 rounds of chemo. When asked, each of my doctors said it was not recomended but with furthur questioning each also said if it was them or a member of their family they would have the chemo just in case. Recovery from the lobectomy was very difficult for me. A great deal of pain some of whcih continues to this day 1.5 years later. The other problem was breathing. If you do need the surgery anticipate some breathing issues but if you do your breathing exercises after surgery and exercise as much as possible unless you have some additional problem you should be ok in about 6 months. Dont be afraid to ask for pain meds and other meds to control pain and anxiety as you recover. These can greatly speedup the healing/recovery process.
good luck
let us know how you do

MadelynJoe's picture
Posts: 96
Joined: Sep 2003

Dear gcolburn:

I wrote to you previously about my experience with lung cancer. I was diagnosed in May 2005 with a 2.8 cm tumor and had surgery in June which was done via VATS and removed my lower right lobe.

The pain was not bad after the surgery. They give you plenty of meds so don't worry about that.

I would advise you to visit an oncologist after your surgery. Take all your pathology and lab reports. I believe adjuvant chemo (that means chemo in case some cells remain in your body) would be in your best interest. I had some chemo and I'm glad I did. I am cancer free 26 months later.

I think you should leave no stone unturned.

May God watch over you as you begin this journey.


Posts: 10
Joined: Jul 2007

Dear gcolburn,

I have thought about replying to your post for days now. Your situation sounds a lot like my mom's. She had a wedge resection of one type of cancer in her left lung and a non-small cell cancer diagnosis, in her right lung ang got a right lung lobectomy. She was 67 and in good health. Her sugeon said people all react differently. One guy, he told us, he removed his entire lung and the guy runs marathons. Another woman had a resection and uses oxygen. With my mom, and she had terible sinuses also, it really didn't seem to affect her breathing, her recovery rate was quick but over time they just kept doing more and more procedures and the entirety weighed her down. The surgery itself wasn't bad and the recovery was quick. Oncology is great with pain management and that part seemed well. She got whatever worked and they worked with her.

You have been so helpful to others on these posts. It's hard to know what is "the right thing to do or to say" for any one of us. Cancer and the medications, is so insidious , it is different and the same for everyone - if that makes any sense. One of the big things I would do differently is this - we didn't get to meet with an oncologist until after the surgeries. In hindsight I would have insisted on it from the very beginning.

My only other thought is, I have joined an on-line support group at www.cancercare.org and they have every topic imaginable related to cancer. I wish my mom had joined the lung cancer group, I am now with the grief group. The difference between that site and this is it is so much more interactive, there is a "moderator" a cinical cancer social worker who responds to the group and the feedback is instantaneous, unlike here where it filters in. I am having daily conversations, or if I don't feel like it - not, with the members of my group who all have or are going through variations of having lost a loved one to lung cancer. Like I said they have every group and I wish my mom and I could have asked these questions on-line, because we had so many, and gotten replies asap.

My thoughts are very much with you.
In warmth and kindness,

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