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Brother's Biopsy Results

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 6239
Joined: Feb 2009

Unfortunately, my brother has cancer.  I'm not sure if it is lymphoma but all of it seems to be in the nodes.  My SIL said she can't remember the name but that it started with an S and was something carcenoma.  The only thing that I'm thinking is squamous cell but if someone could inform me as to what this might be I'd be very appreciative.  If all cancer is located in the nodes is that usually lymphoma?  My dad broke the news tonight to me and he sounded heartbroken.  He is 80 and my mom died at 56 of breast, mine was discovered right after turning 50 (colorectal) and my brother is 52.  My dad has been through so much and he is just devestated.  Any person on this board knows how this can devestate a family.  My brother and SIL have been through so much and now this.  My brother goes in for a MRI on his brain tomorrow (they said this is protocal - is that true?) and then a PET on Friday.  Oncologist is on Monday.  Hopefully a second opinion later next week.  Please give me your thoughts as to the lymphoma question and brain scan and any info you can provide.  Also, is lymphoma hereditary? Thank you for your concern and input. 

Kim

 

jimwins's picture
jimwins
Posts: 2111
Joined: Aug 2011

I'm very sorry to hear about your brother, Kim. You guys have been through enough.  I can't address all your questions but here's something about lymphoma:

Lymphoma is cancer of the lymph system (or lymphatic system), which is part of our immunity. It is characterized by the formation of solid tumors in the immune system.  The cancer affects immune cells called lymphocytes, which are white blood cells.  Carcinoma a cancer arising in the epithelial tissue of the skin or of the lining of the internal organs.  I'm not sure if the MRI of the brain is standard protocol but I assume they are doing it to eliminate the possibility of tumors in the brain. 

This discusses difference between types of scans (this is old - 2001):

http://www.baymoon.com/~gyncancer/library/weekly/aa071601a.htm

I know this isn't much help but I happened to see the post and wanted to respond. 

Please keep us updated and know you're not alone here.

Hugs and positive thoughts,

Jim

 

Sten's picture
Sten
Posts: 162
Joined: Apr 2013

Kim,

You have my sincere sympathy.

Life can be hard.

The only thing you can do is to go on fighting.

Sten

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3323
Joined: May 2012

 

Kim,

Sorry about the bad news. Guessing at what your brother has based upon what little about the biopsy is known yet would not be fair to you or your relatives. There are close to 40 forms of lymphoma (when the numerous, rare subtypes are included), so it is somewhat anyone's guess at this moment, especially for us laypeople.  Who in the hospital has access to his medical information ? If your brother gives verbal permission in the presence of a nurse or doctor, they should give you an account of the biopsy results, and should even give you a paper copy of the results. This is not a lot to ask of them.  Someone told your father that it was cancer, so perhaps he is authorized to see your brothers information ?

Having spent a good part of my life in and out of hospitals, I have learned to shove my way around a little bit, with good results when it comes to getting facts.  Nurses tend to not like seeing me coming down the hall.  If you are visiting the hospital I cannot imagine you not being able to get this information TODAY.  Waiting until Monday to see the oncologist makes no sense at all to me. 

My sister-in-law has a very rare condition that permanently enlarged many of her lymph nodes, and has half-filled both of her lungs, but it is extremely rare, and took four specialists months to diagnose correctly, so I am hesitant to mention it.  What she has (I would have to look up the name of the disease) is non-cancerous, but is also both untreatable but non-fatal.  She first learned she was sick from cough and shortness of breath. But since your father was told that he does have some type of cancer, it could not be what she has. I mentioned it only because her disease does inviolve whole-body involvement of the lymphatic system, which you asked about.

Some GENERAL thoughts on your other concerns:

-- Lymphoma involvement in the brain and CNS is rare, but it does happen. There are subtypes that focus in those areas. It is totally reasonable for the doctors to do the scan.

-- Lymphoma is NOT considered to have a strong hereditary occurence.

A first-degree relative with the disease confers a small increase in risk, but is not a huge red flag for you or other first-degree relatives.  My mother was one of twelve (12) siblings. Two (2) got leukemia (which is similiar to lymphoma as a WBC disease). My oncologist, when doing my workup, said that their disease most likely had little or nothing to do with me getting lymphoma.  In fact, only three members of her family (14 individuals, when adding the parents) got cancer, and all of them in old age, which is slightly below the random occurence in society of one-in-four individuals, so in fact her family was moderately more cancer-resistant than most. (14 x .25= 3.5) 

If genetic factors are at work in lymphoma, they are not yet identified or commonly accepted in oncology.  The section of the link provided below labeled "Risk Factors for NHL" says very little about hereditary factors.

Praying for all of you and yours,

max

Types of NHL:  http://www.cancer.org/cancer/non-hodgkinlymphoma/detailedguide/non-hodgkin-lymphoma-types-of-non-hodgkin-lymphoma

 

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 6239
Joined: Feb 2009

Thank you all for your concern and responses.  When confronted with this we all want immediate answers and we do really have to wait and see.  I'm just impatient at this time so I'm aplogizing if it seems I'm looking for a diagnosis.  I'm trying to grasp this disease.  Of course, I'm more familiar with colorectal cancer and can only go by my experiences, just like all of you.  I'll keep you posted as to what the doctor says on Monday.  You are are wonderful group.

Kim

amanda_christy's picture
amanda_christy
Posts: 60
Joined: Aug 2014

Im so sorry to hear about ur brother's diagnosis. I pray that it turns out to be easily treatable and ease some of the anxiety and hurt u must be feeling right now. My heart goes out to u, truly!

Stay strong Kim

Amanda

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