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Lung nodule

Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2011

My 86 year old husband in rehab after a total hip replacement. Just hours after he left the hospital, his doctor called and said that his scan showed a 19x15m nodule in his lower left lung and wants to do a biopsy. He has been a smoker for over 70 years, has had melanoma on both arms, and served in the South Pacific during WWII. In checking on websites (yes, I know a little knowledge is a dangerous thing) it seems like most things are against him . . . his age, medical history and occupation. Since he is in rehab I have no idea how soon the biopsy can be done. I suppose it depends on his physical therapy progress. Does anyone have any similar stories that could give me any information?

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sep 2006

I am a 55 year old survivor of both head/neck cancer and lung cancer (lower right lobectomy) so my 'story' is different, but I can agree with you that the factors you describe seem to play a significant role in what treatment will be.

Bearing in mind that I am not a doctor nor even a medical professional, please consider the following and accept them or refute them as you see fit:

1. Your husband's age is a considerable challenge as so-called cancer boards or tumor boards determine the value of spending the money to save a life. My limited understanding is that this is not dissimilar to actuarials from insurance companies. Ageism is probably one of your husband's largest problems, with some degree of logic involved.

2. I don't know why physical therapy for his hip would adversely affect his ability to get a CT scan or a PET scan or even a biopsy. Lung biopsies have come a long way and some are nearly non-invasive, depending on the location of the node.

3. On the other hand, doctors typically require breathing tests, assorted and many, and the reasons for these are to determine whether hub can survive surgery AND live with one less lobe, particularly, in this case, a rather large one on the left side.

4. Hub's behavior can impact a decision on where to go next. If he is not quitting the smoking habit, why, to be blunt, should anyone bother?

I would suggest, as a fellow lung cancer survivor, that your husband quit smoking immediately, that he begin a daily exercise progam that includes walks, short or long, and that he start some sort of breathing exercises that his family physician can perhaps provide the tools and instructions for.

There is always hope, but we have to help ourselves.

Best wishes to your husband and his family and friends. You, Eloise, have a tough job ahead of you; remember to take care of yourself as well.

Take care,


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