My husband's sister died of lung cancer that metastisized to the brain, bones, etc in Dec. 07. She had been sick for about 15 months and was 47 years old at death. My husband, who is 41 years old, just had a spot show up on his right lower lung (less than centimeter). This showed up during an x-ray, then a cat scan with contrast. Dr. recommended waiting 3 months doing another scan to see if it changed. We don't feel comfortable waiting that long, especially after caring for his sisterl. He is not, and never has been, a smoker. The doctor said it is too small to biopsy, what options are available? We are very worried.
Hi. Doctors in some big medical centers can do a biopsy of lung "spots" at least 0.5 centimeters in diameter, so you might want to get a second opinion to see if that spot can be sampled. Otherwise, you really have to wait around 2-3 months before doing a repeat scan, to see if the spot has gotten bigger and warrants a biopsy.
The practice of repeating the scan after 3 months or so is common practice. While there are emerging technologies like a PET scan – these have not been clearly found to be better than the CT in terms of screening. IF the lesion in question is near the major airways, you could consider getting a bronchoscopy (which is a tube inserted down the throat into the lung), but your doctor would have suggested it, if it was so.
Hence, the only other method would be to remove the entire segment of lung involved, however, performing such a surgery would likely not be contemplated as the risk of cancer would not outweigh that of surgery.
While the experience with his sister raises anxieties – for lung cancer there are no clear family histories that predispose other members. Stay positive.
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