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Two Different Cancers

Posts: 6
Joined: Jul 2010

Hi Everyone My Name is Judy
I recently discussed my newly diagnosed Kidney Cancer which I was led to believe was Renal Cell Carcinoma with neck lymph node metastasis.Following further discussions with my Oncologist I have now found out that the tumour in my lymph node appears to be a different type of cancer as it was different to the kidney cancer.I had a PET scan last week which showed a hot spot in my nasopharynx.I underwent a biopsy two days ago and will not have the results for 10 days. The waiting is absolute agony as I have not been able to commence treatment due to the uncertainty of what type of cancer I have.I was also told that they may never find where the primary is. Has anyone else experienced this.

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

I had head/neck cancer (squamous cell carcinoma) followed by the same kind of cancer in my lung. They decided (but did not determine) that the lung cancer was a new primary, which meant they would go ahead and perform surgery again, which is to say that you may very well WISH that your newly-discovered cancer is a new primary.

We typically think that multiple primary cancers is bad, but, really, it is sometimes the better deal, given the alternative.

If your renal cancer is isolated to one kidney, they can probably remove it. They likely would not if that cancer had spread. If the head/neck cancer is 'only' in the lymph nodes, they can probably remove it too, or even apply rads and chemo to remove it.

None of it is easy, to be sure, but it is doable.

Best wishes and good luck.

Take care,


Glenna M's picture
Glenna M
Posts: 1576
Joined: May 2009

Hi Judy - I was diagnosed with NSCLC in my left lung in May '09. Two weeks later after having a PET scan they found I also had SCC laryngeal cancer. Two completely separate and different types of cancers, not mets. From what I have read this is a good thing, having mets would mean that my cancer was already spreading.

Both of my cancers are inoperable but treatable. I received chemo (cisplatin) and 35 radiation treatments for my larynx followed by 4 Stereotactic Radiosurgery treatments for my lung. I am now 11 months post treatment and still in remission and going strong!!

I am not an expert on doctors not finding the primary but I have read posts from many others here who have said the same thing, my guess is that it's not all that uncommon. Again, this is just my guess.

I know the waiting is pure agony but the doctors need to gather all of the information before deciding your treatment plan. I could tell you, like many others have told me, to find things which will keep your mind on something other than your cancer, but I know from experience that this is next to impossible.

Wishing you the best,

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