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New - Dad not giving all the info

Madre's picture
Madre
Posts: 124
Joined: Apr 2008

I am currently treating for colon cancer but my dad, prostate cancer surviver, has been sick and not very informative. 2 years ago PSA level increased (past prostate cancer??) so he told me doctors were doing radiation in his chest but he never said why. This May he got a horrible cough, spitting up blood, and eventually dx with pnemonia. It is now September and he still has horrible cough, no energy, winded just to walk anywhere (recently dx with asthma) and weight loss. He tells me there is a spot on his lung but doc isn't going to byopsy unless it changes. Doesn't know if left over from pnemonia or possibly tumor. I have always had in the back of my head lung cancer but wanted to ask those of you that have it what the symptoms and procedures are. Sorry this is such a run on but I know how quick and proactive my docs were with my cancer and my dad either isn't listening to his or isn't being honest with them or me. Thanks for your thoughts.

cabbott
Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

When I had a cough that wouldn't go away and it didn't respond to antibiotics, the doctor finally ordered a chest Xray. It showed a spot so he followed up with a CAT scan. They saw a little spot, but chose to wait three months before they took another CAT scan to see if it changed before they did anything else. When I had a funky mammogram years before, the doctors seemed a lot more proactive with a biopsy the same week. I am blessed with a sister who is a family practice physician. She said the 3 month wait was normal. Lung cancer, even the aggressive stuff, takes time to grow. It is often very hard to biopsy without causing side effects so they don't want to do surgery unless they are pretty sure that surgery is definately indicated. If the spot was huge or life threatening they probably would move faster, but if it is small and iffy, the three month wait is pretty normal. Most cancers will grow in that time, but sometimes there is another three month wait and another CAT scan to monitor a slow growing something on the lung. If he isn't being regular about the followup or honest with the doctor about his symptoms, they can't do much for him but I hope that's not the case. There are many treatments out there for prostrate cancer even when it has spread to the lung. By the way, it would still be prostrate cancer if it started in the prostrate and they would use the medicines designed for prostrate cancer in that case. If it started in the lung and was cancer, he would need the medicines for lung cancer. They are different, so if the spot is cancer they will need to test to see what kind it is. I hope it just turns out to be something an antibiotic will fix, but a doctor will have to check it out. Good luck!

C. Abbott

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

Cabbott makes great points. I add the following: your dad may very well be telling you the truth.

The doctor, as Cabbott indicates, needs to see that thing grow before he can begin to predict what it might be. Pneumonia causes scars, in fact.

In June of 07, I remarked to my family doc that I was still coughing, albeit a small cough, even though I had quit smoking in late '05 just prior to surgery for tongue and neck cancer (that will make you quit, for sure).

So he set up a CAT scan. And then they did a PET scan. And then I was told I had a minimum of 10 months to live. Maybe two years. Possibly four.

My lungs were shotgunned with tumors, I was told.

Still, they wanted to wait and do another scan in August. In the meantime, I had an infection (cellulitis) on my face and neck, and was given Keflex. When the August scan came around, I was nearly CLEAR of all of those spots. I did have one node that concerned them, for sure, and that turned out to be cancer and was removed early this year.

But, it did in fact take time to get the stuff right. I wasn't dying.

The biggest problem? They took the node out in January, and while it had grown enough to be established as the same kind of cancer that was in my tongue and neck originally, they could not tell if it was metastisis or new cancer. They subsequently believe that it is new (and I hope so too) but there you go: it takes time.

Your dad may be, probably is, telling you the truth. Unless you have a history that suggests otherwise, I would advise you accept what he is telling you at this point.

Even if you do not, after all, there is little or nothing you can do to change things.

Best wishes to you and to him, and to your entire family.

Take care,

Joe

Madre's picture
Madre
Posts: 124
Joined: Apr 2008

Thank you so much, his doc did say they would scan again. If spot smaller they will do nothing, if no change or bigger they will biopsy. He was getting chemo last year, he said he didn't know it until he got the bill from the insurance company. (????) Sometimes I think my dad only hears what he wants to, I have come to a place, since having my own cancer, that he will share whats he wants to because ultimately he has to go through it. I know I didn't share right off the bat either. I wish you both well in your fight against cancer. And thank you for your thoughts, it helps. :)

Greggriggs's picture
Greggriggs
Posts: 132
Joined: Dec 2006

Hope things are better with you an your Dad.
I did that spit blood for two months they thought I had a bug did a XRay it did not show nothing . So they put me on antibiotics I quit spittin up blood . But I did not quit coughing,so they did a TB test that came back clear so they sent me to a pumanary guy he ran a scope down my nose never forget that day I heard him say there
it is tumor.
I sure got a hold of the nurses hand an held on tight .
They cut a pice an washed it with water an sucked it up with a tube an did a whatshmacallit,it came back non small cell.
I guess they know what they are doing but they could not see nothing on a XRay with me but 95% of my left lung was blocked an they removed the whole lung . I know it grows slow but I would want to know.
Like Soccer it did make me quit smokin.
Take care of your self an best of luck to your Dad.
Greg

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