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Prognosis for 88 year old mom.
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Prognosis for 88 year old mom.

My 88 year old mom was recently hospitalized for pneumonia, for the 4th time in about 3 years.  She had a CT scan in 2007 that showed "2 densities in the right lung base".  A new CT scan showed just "one large mass measuring 2.6 cm".  A CT-guided biopsy was recommended but due to her COPD and general weakness it was cancelled.  She also has "Subcentimeter fat-containing lymph nodes" in the axilla.  Because there will not be a biopsy we are in suspended animation not knowing what might happen.  She has told her doctor if she has cancer she doesn't want to know, thus we, the family have no idea what to expect.  From this information can you give us any kind of idea what the prognosis might be.  I always thought that if a CT scan showed up a mass, it was very likely cancer, but no one seems to want to tell us anything.  Thanks in advance for your consideration. Lyndajean
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Hi,

Your mother has had CT scan evidence of these lung shadown since 2007. If this was lung cancer to begin with, I would have expected it to have enlarged and spread widely over this 2 year period. It is unlikely to have remained a localised, 2.6 cm mass. Thus we actually dont really know if we are dealing with cancer or not (it is of course theoretically possible that a cancer developed later in the same region as the previous lung shadows).

Since a lung mass has been documented, it needs to be investigated, diagnosed, and treated. If biopsy is considered risky for her, then you could discuss other investgation methods with your doctor. These include a sputum cytology, fibre-optic bronchoscopic lavage, CT guided FNAC (fine needle aspiration cytology) etc. These are usually less risky than a biopsy. In case all of these are unsuitable for her (because of location of mass, age, co-morbid conditions like COPD etc) then a non-invasive test like a PET-CT may provide some information on which to proceed forward. Please let me know about your mothers progress.

All the best, and God bless!
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