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distinguishing secondary from primary cancer?

MrsBee
Posts: 43
Joined: Aug 2015

My Mom had multiple nodules in her lungs right from the outset of her endometrial cancer. At first they thought they weren't related, but they grew and become more numerous, although they were always too small to biopsy. after tworounds of chemo and radiation for her original uterine cancer she decided to try a third much stronger round for the nodules which her Dr.s now believed to be caused by the original Uterinr cancer.

My question is -does anyone know if Drs can distinguish secondary from a primary cancer-through say a Pet scan?

Does Utirne cancer in the lungs look different than primary lung cancer?

Thanks.   

oldbeauty
Posts: 176
Joined: May 2012

Hi Mrs B, I don't know for sure but I suspect the precise histology of a suspected cancer can't be determined from a PET/CT.  I also had lung nodules concurrent with two recurrences of my uterine cancer.  They were scattered throughout my lungs and too small to biopsy.  The consensus of doctors both times were that these were metastases of my primary uterince cancer.  The fact that your Mom's nodules grew would be concerning, I would think.  Has she responded well to the chemo so far?  When is she due for another scan?  I guess what you are asking is whether the nodules are lung cancer and not metastases of uterine cancer.  For my second recurrence, the lung nodules were the only sign my cancer had returned for the third time.  I chose not to wait to see if they grew and entered chemo.  I responded well to treatment and again I am in remission from the disease.  Best wishes to you and your mother. Oldbeauty

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Tamlen
Posts: 189
Joined: Jan 2018

When my doctors found nodules in my lungs in a CT scan, I was told that the only way to confirm the type of cancer was through a biopsy. They also said that lung cancer and endometrial cancer look quite different when a biopsied tumor is examined by a pathologist.

Did your mother have tumors or nodules found anywhere other than her lungs after she was diagnosed with endometrial cancer?

MrsBee
Posts: 43
Joined: Aug 2015

No. just in the lungs. They even began to shrink half way through her second round, but 2 had gotten bigger by the end of that round.

They were still too small to biopsy. I guess it would be silly to think it wasn't the Uterine cancer that had simply spread to her lungs-

just surprised they have no idea between secondary and primary unless physically in front of them. Thanks.

MrsBee
Posts: 43
Joined: Aug 2015

My Mom  was Mrs, Bee, I 'm her son. She died from the chemo treatment for the lung cancer last October.

I think the nodules were the concern from the beginning. I thought I read some where that they could tell the difference

in how the cells looked in pet scans. Or is it that Primary lung cancer is more agressive? After her 2nd treatment of the last series of chemo-one that didn't make her lose her hair and needed no Nulasta shot (if that helps identify it)-it damaged her digestive track so badly that she could no longer absorb nutrients and very little water. a month later she died of dehydration-struggling just to drink a half a cup of water a day.

I was just wondering if she could have had real lung cancer after all and not just Uterine cancer that had spread.

 Glad you're doing well, and  thanks.

oldbeauty
Posts: 176
Joined: May 2012

Mrs Bee's son, I am sorry your mother did not survive this disease we all struggle with.  Your post is a reminder how difficult the disease can be for our loved ones as well as ourselves.  Best wishes, Oldbeauty.

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