My husband was diagnosed with stage IV NSCLC adenocarcinoma in Oct '09.
He was feeling unwell for a week with nausea, coughing and chest tightness, I finally convinced him he needed to go to the hospital. He was diagnosed with a pericardial effusion (fluid around the heart), which needed to be urgently drained. Nearly three litres of fluid was drained from around his heart. The fluid was found to have cancer cells.
The doctor suspected my husband had a tumor on the pericardium (sac around the heart) which was the cause of the effusion.
After three weeks in hospital and numerous tests, scans, etc., a PET scan showed a tiny nodule (too small to biopsy) in his right upper lung, FDG accumulation to left and right hilar lymph nodes and the pericardium.
No obvious primary tumor was found but it is lung cancer. The oncologist thinks it has spread from the small nodule in the lung to the lymph nodes to the pericardium.
Chemo was organised and my husband had the first dose, then the pericardial effusion re-accumulated (8 weeks after the first one). This time they operated and created a pericardial window to keep draining the fluid permanently.
Chemo resumed when he had recovered somewhat from the operation. He had 4 cycles of chemo and handled it pretty well, the only side effects were tiredness and mouth ulcers.
CT scans since then have shown no progression so he is considered stable at the moment. No more chemo for now, the oncologist says we'll just "wait and see".
It is hard to comprehend he has stage IV cancer as he looks and feels so well. We can only hope he stays this way for as long as possible.
Does any one else have metastases to the pericardium?