Large lung tumor

Hi,

My husband and I just learned he has a large tumor 16cm in his right lung. He has had recurring bouts of bronchitis/pneumonia. This last bout showed a mass in his lung and the CT scan showed this large tumor.

We are waiting to hear from Drs regarding a biopsy. He hasn't been officially diagnosed with LC however his family Dr. is pretty sure it's large cell cancer.

To further complicate things my husband also has congestive heart failure, PAD, atrial fibrillation, and is on lasix for fluid retention.

I have read on several posts that they don't operate on large tumors and I wonder if my husband is healthy enough for other treatments.

Does anyone have experience with large tumors and other health complications?

Any suggestions?

Report post

10 replies. Join the discussion

I have NOT heard that they don't operate on large tumors. They tend not to operate if the cancer is in both lungs. But, if it's confined to one lung, they could remove that entire lung IF your husband is healthy enough for surgery.

But, here is where it gets dicey. All doctors are not equal. Thoracic lung specialists are able to do surgeries that regular surgeons cannot perform. So, get yourselves to a cancer center for the best advice.

People here can help you experiencially and emotionally.....the top doctors can help your husband survive this.

It's hard to believe the tumor was 16 cm before it was detected.

Report post

I agree that such a large tumor should have been detected earlier. 16 cm is actually ten times what mine was (1.6cm). But they have found it now. It is important who "they" are. If you are not at a comprehensive cancer center (check to see at http://www3.cancer.gov/cancercenters/centerslist.html), you should get to one ASAP. There they have the best information, the best doctors, and the best equipment.

I also agree that the size of the tumor is not the main limiting factor. If the tumor is confined to a single lung and hasn't spread, they may well operate. Even if it has spread to the luymph nodes, they may well decide to do some chemotherapy and/or radiation to shrink the nodes and the tumor and then operate.

But get to a CCC - even if it is just to get a second opinion.

Courage

Chum

Report post

Hi,

I've also heard about "larger tumors" not being operated on, or at least trying to shrink them first with chemo/rad. That wasn't the case with me. CT scan showed a mass in top lobe of my right lung. No biopsy was done, my surgeon said we would find out if it was cancer, when he removed it.

When he got in there, it turned out there were "two" tumors, 6cm's and 7 cm's - (not mm's). So he removed the top and middle lobe, but - there was no spread to margins or lymph nodes, thank goodness. But I did follow up with 4 chemo treatments, 3 weeks apart.

So, as you read postings, I think you'll discover, that even with "similar cancers" - different regions, different hospitals, different doctors, equals different methods of treatments!! But don't let that discourage you!!

Learn as much as you can, and ask alot of questions!! If you're unsure or don't feel comfortable with your Doctors course of action......, get a second, third, or however many opinions until you do!!! Best wishes and God Bless. You and your family will be in my prayers!! Deb

Report post

Thank-you all so much for your advise and for giving me hope that his situation is NOT hopeless.

We are waiting to hear from University of Florida Shands and we are planning on contacting Moffitt in Tampa as well. We are about an hour away from both of them.

This has come as a horrible blow to both of us especially since he just made it through the triple bypass surgery 3 years ago and now the new heart/circulation problems. It is very comforting to me to know that there are people like all of you who are fighting and surviving this horrible disease. Knowing that and meeting you gives me more hope.

I'll keep you posted as we find out more and thank you so much.

Judi

Report post

Dear Judi:

I am basically piggy-backing on what the others have said, and wanted to welcome you into this loving family of lung cancer survivors, spouses, family, and/or caretakers, You have come to a good place where help and encouragement, advice and knowledge, and in general, give and receive support for one another.

This savage cancer is not a good thing, but the best thing that any of us can do is to find a facility where they have expertise in treating lung cancer, whether that treatment consists of chemo, radiation, surgery, or a mixture of them.

Many people in this family have had surgery and/or treatments, some of which can be taxcing on one's body temporarily or for an extended period of time, depending on the extent of the mass and other issues.

I am so sorry that your husband has been through so much already and now to be faced with this, but there is hope and there are options. It sounds like you are well on your way towards finding a good facility who can diagnose and treat your husband. They will decide what is best for him under his particular circumstances and gear the treatment accordingly.

Love and prayers to you and your husband

Barb

Report post

I have read the other responses to your concerns, and agree that the size of the tumor alone does not determine whether or not it is inoperable - I have been told that decision is usually made on the basis of whether or not the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

By the time that I was diagnosed last summer at a small hospital, I had several tumors in both my lungs and lining of my heart measuring 7.5 cm X 7.4 cm x 4cm, 1.9 cm x 1.1 cm, 2.2cm x 1.3 cm x 3cm, and 2.1 cm x 1.2cm. Then in the liver, there were two lesions; one was 1.8 cm, and the other was 1.1 cm.

I am inoperable, but not due to the size of the tumors, but to the fact that my cancer had spread to both lungs, lymph nodes, lining of the heart, 'eaten' away 1/2 of my sternum (bones), and in my liver.

I got a second opinion at a large university hospital with a cancer center. While the diagnosis was the same, with the same horrible survival rate: 2 months to live without chemo; a 40% chance to get to 1 year; their attitudes toward treatment were different. The smaller hospital was 'gloom & doom'; while the larger hospital is willing to give me whatever they can to fight this disease.

It may or may not extend my life expectancy - I am under no illusions, but I have had about 16 chemo treatments since June 2006 until I stripped out my bone marrow this January. While chemo made me very sick and in bed for a few days afterwards, my large tumor has shrunk a lot, the smaller tumors are stable, and my quality of life is good. I fully intend to celebrate my 1 year in June.

In summary, every person's health is different, but I would definitely get to a comprehensive cancer center or large hospital for a second opinion. I now know that hospitals and oncologists vary hugely. I am fortunate that I am now being treated at a great hospital with an excellent oncologist.

I have good quality of life, and I am blessed by God every day. I will pray for you and your husband as you have to make these decisions, but don't give up - God gives us miracles every day, and this web-site is a wonderful place for support and learning.

God bless you.

Report post

I had a 7cm tumor in just inside the rt lung. Surgically removed the entire lung.
Went to doctor initially for persistent cough and "clubbing" of the fingers and toes as well as fluid retention, especially in the feet/ lower legs.. Symptoms of congestive heart failure!
After surgery, all other symptoms are resolving & returning to normal including the clubbing (over time) with the retention fully resolved within 3 weeks of surgery and no further medication.

Bottom line, it is possible many of the other symptoms stem from the tumor. In my case, I am getting use to the single lung lifestyle (what other choice?).

Best of Luck and you'll be in our prayers!

-John

Report post

My wife recently had a pneumonectomy of her right lung and her story was nearly identical to John's (above) except for the fluid retention.

My best word to you (to echo comments of others) is, if at all possible, GET TO A CANCER CENTER ! MD Anderson seems closest to you, but Dana-Farber and Memorial Sloan-Kettering are the other two players. With a serious situation like this, you need the best and it is my belief that these three places are where you'll find it.

Best wishes, prayers and thoughts for you,

Roger

Report post

jsobrien, I do not know anything about them not operating on large tumors, I see you are from the same town as I am. I have a very good pulmonary doctor in Dr Alfred here and he gave me a choice of going to Moffitt in Tampa or letting a general surgeon at Moffitt do my surgery. Of course I chose Moffitt, they specialize in this and it is their main surgery from what I understand. My tumor was not nearly as large and they removed just a section since I have spots on other lung. They say the margins are clean, that was last August, I have had 4 chemo treatments and right now am not having any and praying that it has stayed on an even keel. Good luck and God Bless but make sure he goes where they know what they are doing. Also Gainesville is a good one I heard. Arletta Will be praying you get good news

Report post

Sorry, mine should have been addressed to foxtrotter.
Arletta

Report post

This discussion is closed to replies. We close all discussions after 90 days.

If there's something you'd like to discuss, click below to start a new discussion.

Photo of Dave Grant

The Lung Cancer Survivors Support Community has provided support for patients, caregivers, families and friends since 2006. We welcome over 600 new members every month in the fight against lung cancer.

ALK mutations and lung cancer

Join the discussion about ALK mutations and lung cancer

Things you can do

Discussion topics

Community leaders