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Nervous for my dad

Posts: 40
Joined: May 2010

I'm very nervous for my dad. He had quadruple bypass surgery in Jan. 09 and just recently learned he may have lung cancer. He went to see a pulmonolist yesterday (about a biopsy) and the doctor told him he wants to wait 4 weeks to see if things improve. His thought is it may just be an infection. His main reasons for thinking that are 1. He has never smoked and 2. The coughing up of blood stopped after he went on antibiotics for pnuemonia. I'm concerned because the doctor was unable to see the ct scan the family doctor had done that showed a mass (couldn't pull it up on his system) and even though my dad never smoked he was around a lot of smoke in bars for quite a long time period in his life. The doctor said it is pretty uncommon for a non-smoker to get lung cancer but I'm still nervous. Am I just being nervous for no reason? It's hard to not think about this and now my dad has asked me to move the appointment back 2 weeks because the doctor said it could take 4-6 weeks for an infection to disappear in an xray and he thinks he is going back too soon even though the appointment is for 5 weeks out from the start of his antibotic treatment. My parents are divorced and in the past 16 months I've seen my dad endure the bypass surgery and my mom go through kidney cancer. So far both have pulled through like champs but I'm still worried.

Posts: 17
Joined: Apr 2010

You are right in being concerned. You did not mention how big the mass was. I have sclc and the chemo and rad. treatment did rid me of it. However on a follow up they spotted another spot but they wanted to be sure and gave me antibotics and checked me out in 6 weeks. The spot though still there did not increase in size and my breathing was 75% better. They will check again after 6 weeks but feel confident that it was an infection. Hope this helps some.

stayingcalm's picture
Posts: 654
Joined: Feb 2007

Your doctor was wrong on at least one count - it is not at all unusual for non-smokers to develop lung cancer! He also needs to see that CT scan - can you (or your dad) get the scan cd from your family doctor and bring it to the oncologist? It's just lax of the onc not to pursue it! It is a good sign that your dad stopped coughing up blood, but he still needs to really get checked out.

cobra1122's picture
Posts: 244
Joined: Jul 2009

You have reason to worry, but as the Doc said it could be a simple infection. Everyone thinks of cancer first when a mass shows up on an xray, but many times it is an infection or something other than cancer.
Now, as staycalm has said, Your Doc was wrong in saying that it is rare for non-smokers to develop lung cancer, in the ACS status they show that over 60% of the new diagnosis will be by either non-smoker or x-smokers who havent smoked in a long time. There are other causes for lung cancer other than cigaretts, enviormental factors and things like that. It doesnt mean he has cancer, but until there is a complete assesment nothing can be ruled out. So stay on top of this and make sure they dont let it just wait,, if your not happy get a second opinion.
But dont let the thought of cancer drive you nuts, as said it could very well be an infection or something non-cancerous that can be treated more easily.

Our Prayers and Best Wishes to Your Father, You, Your Family, and Everyone else..,
Dan (cobra1122) and Margi Harmon

PBJ Austin
Posts: 347
Joined: Mar 2009

I will never forget the day they found a large mass (6cm x 7.3cm) in my right lung and told me with 90% certainty it was cancer. I was also a lifelong non-smoker and I was bewildered to imagine how this could happen to me. After much testing and 3 biopsies they finally determined it was an infection. Unfortunately the infection had spun out of control and was destroying my lung so they did an upper right lobectomy.

Of course I cannot speculate as to what is wrong with your dad but an infection is certainly a possibility as well as cancer. Please do keep in touch, I am interested to hear how it turns out. In the meantime you and everyone on this board will remain in my prayers.

Posts: 40
Joined: May 2010

Thank you to everyone who took time to respond to my concerns. The doctor did get to look at my dad's ct scan by the next day and I had an opportunity to talk to him after that. He doesn't seem quite so confident about the infection now and actually used the words "possible tumor" while we were speaking. I still hope it's an infection. I don't know the exact dimensions of the mass but I do know they mentioned 6cm but as far as the other dimention I can't remember. His appointment is 3 weeks away and I will definitely let everyone know how that turns out. Thank you for your prayers, wishes, and time.

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