I just found this forum while searching for information on "lung nodules". My Mom, age 89 and looks at least 10 years younger, who has COPD had a PET/CT scan July 2008 and they found a pulmonary nodule, 16mm. The impression was "suspicious for low grade malignancy". Because of her 3 previous pneunomia's and COPD, her doctor suggested to watch and retest in 3 months. He has watched it and found no changes and wanted to have another PET scan done next month. In the interum she went to see an "iterventional radiologist" about her fractured back and when he looked at the x-ray's he switched from her fractured back (which is getting better) to being very concerned about the "lung nodule" which he stated seems to be a little larger. He ordered some immediate xray's and went on to tell us he suggested an immediate needle biopsy. He really through us a curve. We scheduled an appointment with her pulmonary doctor next week, but I'm concerned about what to do and have so many questions.
Taking her age, COPD, and all the other problems of the last two years (hip surgery, pneumonia, death in family, house that hasn't been sold, move to Florida) she's just started feeling better. What problems can occur during the biopsy (lung collapse, infection) or after. Not a lot of options if malignant with COPD. Also, if lung collapses won't that compromise her breathing. He then advd if it collapses they add air to re-inflate. If the nodule is malignant won't air cause it to spread. What about a cell breaking off as they are removing a biopsy, then it would spread. I just wonder if doing the needle biopsy, even if it is benign can cause her more breathing problems.
I know I'm playing Devil's advocate, but it's my Mom.
If it were me I would have her refuse the biopsy, but in a few months might have her checked again. If she has lung cancer she won't survive it in any case, so why bother with a biopsy which causes its own damage and emotional upset? Something important to remember is that doctor's are in love with tests and procedures for their own sake. Often the do not look at the larger picture.
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