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I have COPD and some suspicious cells in the lung

bingomon19982000
Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2009

I have recently been diagnosid with COPD and they found some suspicious cells deep in the lung. Has anyone out there been diagnosed with Lung Cancer with these similar symptoms?

stayingcalm's picture
stayingcalm
Posts: 656
Joined: Feb 2007

I also have COPD, emphysema, to be exact. It was repeated bouts of pneumonia/bronchitis that led to an x-ray showing lung cancer as well. How exactly were your suspicious cells found?

I currently manage my COPD with Advair, Spiriva, an albuterol nebulizer, and Proventil (an albuterol inhaler). Don't need oxygen, yet ;)

I guess what you really want to know is if "suspicious cells" are necessarily cancer - really a question for your doctor...spots on x-rays and other scans can often be scar tissue or pneumonia; cells are a different matter. Please, ask your doc!

cabbott
Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

In my case, a cough that wouldn't clear up on antibiotics led to an Xray that found a spot. That was followed by a CAT scan and later a PET/CAT scan that indicated that it had grown. That led to surgery and the discovery I had lung cancer. However, I have had friends with similar problems that turned out differently, so don't panic!

I have learned several things from having cancer. First of all, it is not cancer until the pathology report is complete. The doctors really do have to see the cells under the microscope and sometimes do followup micro-genetic testing to tell that you have cancer and to know what kind of cancer it is. You can't tell from Xrays, Pet Scans, or MRI's, even though such tests do point out problem areas. Specialists study various lung problems for years and years of their lives so that they can know what is known about lung ailments and lung cancer is only one type of lung problem. Even lung cancer is an umbrella term for many kinds of different cancer diseases, so pathologists have their work cut out for them.

The second big thing I've learned is that it is better to know what problem you have than to remain in the dark. I didn't like the experience of being diagnosed. I didn't like the tests and I hated the anxiety of waiting for answers. Finally finding out that I had a nasty problem was no fun. Yet even given all that, it was better knowing what I had, where it was (and wasn't) and having a plan to deal with it that where I was when I was totally in the dark. You can't make up a battle plan when you don't know what you are fighting.

So go for your follow-up tests. Pursue answers from the docs who know as aggressively as you can. If it turns out that your spots are from a lung infection, you can see the pulmonologist and attack that. If they seem to be growing and look like they may be cancerous spots, see the thoracic specialist and get the path report. With my spots, there was a 3 month wait between scans. When the spot appeared to have grown, biopsy was then indicated. Even then, I knew it might be something other than cancer. For a friend of mine, the spot turned out to be a lung infection treated with some hi-test antibiotics for several months. For me, it was cancer. In both cases, we each got a good plan of attack from the doctor based on a complete pathology report.

If they have you waiting between tests, there are things you can do to better your chances of complete recovery no matter what problem it turns out to be. If you smoke, quit now. If you are out of shape, see your doctor and start a walking program or another exercise program designed with your interests and abilities in mind. Read up on good foods to eat for lung health and eat right. If surgery or medical intervention is needed anytime in the future, you will be ready for it. And if not, you will be in good shape to enjoy yourself in many other ways. Good luck!

C. Abbott

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