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How was your mets found????

Posts: 127
Joined: Feb 2009

I keep reading about people having mets treated (i.e. brain liver bone) How are these found? do you get routine mri or pet scan or are there symptoms first?

SueC21's picture
Posts: 11
Joined: Jan 2010

Hi Nana,

My husband's mets were all found at his initial diagnosis. He was admitted into the hospital for headaches and loss of balance in Dec 09. He had had a mild heart attack in April 09 and had complained of chest pains the entire 9 months. But the doctor's always assumed it was the heart, even though he was a heavy smoker.

They did extensive blood work and an MRI of his brain and found 7 spots on it. He had also complained of vision changes, so while admitted the opthomologist checked his eye and found a tumor in it. By that point the Doc starting talking Lung Cancer. They followed up with a CT Scan of his chest and torso and found spots on his lungs and liver. A biopsy to the liver, confirmed Stage 4, inoperable/non-curable Non-small cell lung cancer, andencarcinoma.

And here we are...

So I would say if you don't feel like you used to, have it checked right away. Because my husband started with chest pains, then eye problems, then headaches and then when he lost his balance, he could no longer function. So he had to see the doctor.

The good news is that the tumor in his eye and the spots on his brain are all getting smaller, so we hope that the ones on his lungs and liver will too.

stayingcalm's picture
Posts: 654
Joined: Feb 2007

Unfortunately, my oncologist was paying no attention to my brain at all - despite the fact that lung cancer seems to often send mets there, there was no routine brain check ever. I actually had my very first sign that something wasn't right when I was sitting in my oncologist's waiting room, waiting to be called for my usual lab tests and my XL999 (clinical trial drug, since discontinued) treatment. We have one of those Keurig Coffee Makers in the waiting room, and someone asked me how to use it - I began to explain, but inexplicably couldn't make my hand point where I wanted it to go. Panicked, I tried to text my fiancé, but I couldn't figure out how to do it. This lasted about 3 - 4 minutes, and when I finally got to see the nurse practitioner she immediately sent me for an MRI. That was my one and (so far) only seizure.

I had brain surgery (piece of cake!) about three weeks later, and whole brain radiation as soon as the staples were taken out.

In my opinion, lung cancer patients should have brain scans at the same time they have lung scans, if they're on a chemo regimen that doesn't protect the brain.

cobra1122's picture
Posts: 244
Joined: Jul 2009

My mets were discovered by pet scans,these are common places for lung cancer to mets to. I for one think that if you have lung cacner they should do pets of the bone and brain on a regular basis. It is in everyones best interest to catch these things early, even the insurance would benifit from earlier detection.
I would press for some kind of schedule for scans of these regions, tho sometimes the insurance is resistant to it, the Docs can find a reason if they want.
But sometimes finding out is not what we truly want, because then it puts the reality in our face and then that opens up those ugly doors of when, what, how long, and we stop striving and given in.
They have certain answers that we needed, but I dont need any anymore answers, I want to live and live a quality of life as if the world was just fine and I dont want to think about the future, its going to be here soon enoough, I chose to live and laugh and continue on.
I have said no to further scans and tests, I know somewhat what the future has in store for me, I want to be somewhat ignorant.

Our Prayers and Best Wishes to you and your family,
Dan (cobra1122) and Margi Harmon

Posts: 47
Joined: Oct 2009

I had some pain in my pelvis bones -- both sides. Everyone said it is unlikely that you can have bilateral tumors -- so I wasn't too concerned. But a PET showed a problem and an MRI confirmed bone mets. Then I was going to start a new chemo regime with Avastin -- which can cause bleeding. He did the brain MRI as a precaution -- not symptoms at all -- and foun 3 tiny mets to the brain. I just finished radiation to brain and pelvis. Three weeks. It wasn't bad at all and some nausea at the end, but aside from that no side effects. I have to wait two weeks and then go see about a new chemo regimen.

Sometimes they don't do routine brain MRI's -- or PETS for that matter, which confuses me. I can tell you the CT did not pick up the bone mets -- the PET did.

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sep 2006

In a nutshell, nana, you should be getting scans every three to six months. CT scans, PET scans. MRi scans not so much. I agree with stayingcalm that a brain MRI should be mandatory following a diagnosis of lung cancer, for the reason she mentions: the danged thing likes to travel north. But, it seems that docs do not like to put you through an MRI on a regular basis.

I have had brain MRIs, to be sure, the first that I can recall not long after the diagnosis of cancer in the lungs, the second prior to going in for the lung biopsy that led to a lobectomy (and if the MRI had revealed cancer in the brain, I would not have had the chance for the lobectomy).

Still, you should be receiving a regular CT and/or PET scan every three to six months following your last treatment.

Of greater import, nana, you should listen to your body, let it be your guide. In my case, following the head/neck stuff in '05-'06, I went to my family doc in June of '07 and asked why I was still coughing since I had given up smoking nearly two years ago. This led to the CT and PET scans that revealed new cancer in my lung.

If you are concerned about the way your body (or mind, as stayingcalm points out) is behaving, bring it up in your next visit with GP or whichever doc you trust most, or, to be honest, ALL OF THEM.

I caution you in advance that many of our aches and pains and concerns are not likely to raise the alarm with our doctors. They are reticent, rightfully so, to have us undergo tests that require radiation, especially multiple tests, especially when they consider them unnecessary.

Take care,


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