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Atelectasis and metastatic cancer
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Atelectasis and metastatic cancer

Hi - Apologies for a question related to a different type of cancer. I found this forum via a posting w/ a similar Q and didn't find a different forum. I have a question following up my family member's recent CT scan results. She is currently undergoing chemo for metastatic pancreatic cancer and just finished radiation therapy for a metastatic tumor near the trachea.

I have a Q where the results read "On review of the lung windows, atelectasis/consolidation is seen within the right lung base. Linear changes are seen within the left lung base. The previously seen subpleural right apical nodular density is not identified on this current study. There is an ill-defined opacity see within the right upper lobe on image 36, which may reflect a component of atelectasis."

I am concerned about whether the pleural effusion and associated atelectasis may represent the beginning of metastatic involvement in the lungs. I know that pleural effusion is often malignant. Our oncologist did not seem to concerned about these findings and the pleural effusion does not significantly affect breathing (though there is some shortness of breath). However, the ill-defined opacity does have me concerned about whether there is potential spread to the lungs. I know this could just be a side effect, but do you have any more information about this possibility? And, more importantly, is there anything that should be done now in light of the fact that this may be a possibility?

A related question, the CT scan also revealed a new tumor on a kidney adrenal gland, which "raise[s] concern for metastatic involvement. A repeat PET CT scan is recommended." Our current plan per our oncologists suggestion is to continue with our chemotherapy regimen and take another CT scan in about 7-8 weeks. Should the repeat scan be sooner? Should we push for a PET scan instead? Should we make any other changes based on these developments?
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242529_tn?1292452814
Dear daniel_u,  Over the internet we cannot give recommendations regarding a specific situation.  Without access to films, additional information regarding the situation, as well as ability to discuss it is very difficult.  You are best directed to discuss your questions and concerns with the oncologist who can interpret for you the findings and make recommendations based on your family members individual situation.  

The term atelectasis referrs to collapse of lung tissue as seen on a chest x-ray and can be related to a number of causes thus would need to be interpreted in context of the entire patient situation.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,
I understand that it would be presumptuous to make any diagnosis without images and with limited information. Perhaps to be more precise, I am looking for 1) more information about the likelihood that atelectasis/pleural effusion can be connected to metastasis to the lung, and 2) any suggestions regarding options a patient could consider, such as earlier, or different tests, based on this possibility.
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