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malignant pleura

Posts: 6
Joined: Dec 2007

I am also at MD Anderson. I was diagnosed with IIIB lung cancer after being hospitalized for a complete white out of the left lung. I don't have a tumor but do have a nodule or nodules in the space between the chest wall and the lung. I don't ask questions about "cure" but the doctors seem optomistic that I will "respond well to the chemotherapy treatments" I am getting. There will be no surgery because there is no tumor--the malignancy is actually in the pleura (that is the space between the chest wall and the lung). I haven't encountered anyone else with my particular situation. It is also unique in that a tumor usually triggers the fluid and once it does and they remove it, the pleural effusions usually continue to recur in short order. Two liters of fluid were removed from my lung in September (knock wood) and the fluid has not come back. The doctors still don't know why I threw the effusion or why it hasn't recurred. Anybody know anything about this situation.

MadelynJoe's picture
Posts: 96
Joined: Sep 2003

Dear Jam:

I do not have any experience with nodules in the lung plura but, I am a lung cancer surviror. I was diagnosed with NSCLC in May 2005 and had subsequent surgery and chemo. While I was diagnosed at stage 1A, I know that lung cancer is a beatable disease. Keep the faith and do the treatments that the Dr's advise. I feel that you will do well. Prayers and much love to you.

All the best,


Posts: 6
Joined: Dec 2007

I am by nature a very positive person but I don't want to stick my head in the sand. It's very confusing to have such an advanced staging when the doctors tell me I am otherwise so healthy but, on the other hand, malignant pleural effusions usually only occur in late stage cancer and they recur almost immediately. I live in fear every day that I'm going to build up fluid again even though I have not since Sep 20. Thanks for the good wishes. I went to the lung cancer support community website and haven't found anyone there yet with a cancer similiar to mine so I guess I just need to concentrate on treatments and living with it.

Posts: 22
Joined: Feb 2006

My dad was diagnosed in February, 2005 with stage III b nsclc. He had a pleural effusion which they performed a thorentesis with talc for. Initially in 2004 he had a tunor in his lower left lobe whichw as removed with no node involvement. However in February, 2005 his effusion came upon him with node involement in the hilar/mediastinum area. He was initially put on Abraxene with Carboplatin and then switched to gemzar and carboplatin. My dad doesn't do well on chemo, especially the aggressive doses his oncologist was giving him (three weeks on/one week off). That following July he stopped chemo for a rest and his PET scan in August showed a remission. We laid low until the following May, 2007 when it began to grow again. He again went on just Gemzar. He was in and out of hospital most of the summer and fall due to clotting problems in his legs. He took another PET scan in November and showed the cancer was almost gone (smaller than when he was in last remission). He has decided to stop chemo for awhile and see what happens. He may try radiation. If he was a little stronger (77 years old), he could have continued chemo and gotten rid of cancer completely. Make sure your doctor is aggressive in both the drug and the amount of days on and off. My dad's cancer responded well to the Gemzar, he is just old and tired and very debilitated from the drugs (not the cancer). Good luck and God Bless

Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2008

did you have chronic shortness of breath because of plural effusion? also, how do they diagnose p. effusion?

Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2009

Hi, My husband had the shortness of breath and change in his voice,which turned out to be paralyzed vocal cords. the breathing problems was related to the plural effusion, (fluid around the lung ) they drained the fluid twice and then did the procedure (pluradesis) attached the lung to the chest wall with talc, to prevent the buildup again.So far, so good, this was in aug.of 08.
He took chemo every 3 wks.4 treatments. He is considered stable right now. they are giving him avastin. He is weak thru all this, but I can see a lot of improvement in so many ways, his breathing is so much better, eating better. But now he has the neurophathy in legs,which he takes ibuprophen to relieve this. Its definately a battle, but must go on.

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