Respiratory Disorders Expert Forum
fluid on lungs
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fluid on lungs

my mother in law was diagnosed the first of dec. with stage IIIB non- small cell lung cancer. it was discovered when she started having trouble breathing and it was because of fluid being on her lungs. doctors had been taking a needle to draw it off. when she met with another doctor he wanted to put tubes in to drain it off and to blow some kind of specially formalated powder around her lungs to keep fluid from building up. we were not told it could cause pnemonia (pneumonia) or infection to set up. we were told for 2 wks. she had pnemonia (pneumonia) then we were told it wasnt. that it was a respitory infection or disease. the last day of her life we were told it was a bacterial infection. she was doing okay untill this procedure was done on her. is anyone familar with this procedure? or her type of cancer? it wasn't the cancer that killed her though. the cancer was in her left lung. the infection or what ever it was, was in her right lung. her oxygen level would keep dropping to so she was put on a ventilator.if anyone can help me with what little i've told, i certainly would appreciate it so very much. i'm curious to about what other options the doctors had about the fluid on her lungs. thanks-sqaimy
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Non- small cell lung cancer is a bad cancer.  It responds poorly to chemotherapy and radiation.  While the infection was the final event, in truth it was the cancer that killed your mother-in-law.

Placing a specially formulated powder into the pleural space, the area between the lungs and the ribs, is a common practice.  It is done to keep the fluid from building up in the lungs.  This was appropriate in your mother-in-law's situation.  It almost never causes infection.  It is most likely that her lung infection was the result of the cancer partially blocking one of the airways of her lung.  That could lead to infection in both lungs.

Your description suggests that the doctors did the right thing in trying to make her more comfortable by keeping the fluid from building up.  That the fluid kept coming back suggests that the cancer was both in and around the outside of her lung.  The combination of cancer and infection could result in her oxygen level dropping.  In this situation the decision to place or not place a person on a ventilator is difficult.  It will vary from one person to another and the wishes of both the person and their family.
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