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Avatar universal

What else could it be if not lung cancer?

My dad has been having pains in the right side of his chest and back.  He went for an Xray, when that found nothing he went for a CT scan.  That showed a mass in his lung.  (I don't have the specifics.)  He's been to a specialist, goes for a needle biopsy this Wednesday, and will be going over the results with the doctor next Monday.  A few days ago he started getting feverish.  At first we thought it was a cold my daughter and I had, but he's gotten no other symptoms and the fever persists.  He and my mom are now searching the internet and scaring themselves, certain that this fever means he has cancer.  My question is, could this combo of symptoms indicate anything else?  Could benign tumors cause fever?  I'd like to give him some hope, as right now he's in a very low place.

He has no other symptoms ... no cough, no spitting up blood, no fatigue (other than the fatigue associated with having to deal with the pain), no weight loss.

He does sometimes have coffee colored urine, but he had kidney stones many months ago, that they (the doctors) decided to just let him pass without medical help.  I think he should bring this up to the doctor (the dark colored urine) but he thinks it's just the kidney stones, and since he's already told the specialist about the stones he doesn't think he needs to say anything else.

Thanks for any insight.
10 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi,

A mass in the lung does raise the issue of lung cancer. It is also possible to have benign masses in the lung. Some of them may be indolent infections, and occasionally they may produce fevers, usually low grade. Some benign growths in the lung, may also cause some obstruction and produce secondary infection in the obstructed airways and produce fever as well. There are also other structures in the lung, such as lymph nodes and this may present a different kind of cancer (like lymphoma)- a curable one.

The concern for the urine would be based on the diagnosis. At the present time, you are still waiting for the biopsy. If there is a proven malignancy, then the other symptoms would be interpreted in this light. Dark colored urine may not be due to blood but to bile. This may be a symptom of a problem in the liver, which may be a site of cancer spread.

Discuss your concerns with your doctor. Some information may not have a direct bearing on big decisions about treatment, but even some things thought trivial may make a difference when presented with multiple options.

Stay positive.  
Avatar universal
Thank you so much for the response, Dr. Heinrik.  I'm glad I have some info to take back to them.
Avatar universal
I just wanted to post an update, in case any info might help anyone else.  My dad went for the needle biopsy yesterday.  While doing this they discovered a lot of fluid in his lung (or maybe it was in the pleural space, I'm not sure) and after the biopsy did a thoracentesis to remove the fluid.  The total fluid removed was 1.5 liters.  This fluid was not there when they did the CT scan 2 weeks ago.  Dad said it was pretty red but the surgeon said it was only about 5% blood.  Dad said neither procedure hurt, but he was sore a couple hours after it was over, when the Novocaine wore off.  He had bandaids covering the holes, but neither appeared too big and there was only a small amount of blood.  He still has the pain, and fever.

We get the results on Monday.  The waiting stinks.  But we're all keeping our spirits and hopes up.  Dad's still going to work but is taking it easy while there, and continues to golf and go to band practice.  I'm proud of him.
Avatar universal
Also, he has a rash on the right side of his back, about the size of a cookie, that the doctor asked about, how long he had it, etc.  He really hadn't noticed it before, so we're not sure when he got it.  It's not itchy.  He turned 61 last month.
Avatar universal
Hi,

The presence of fluid around the lung is a common finding in cancer. The bloodier it is the more likely that it is due to cancer. Removing the fluid does afford some relief, but if it really is cancer, without any other treatment, odds are it would be back within the next 3 months.
Waiting for results can indeed be awful. There are preparations of the specimen that involved drying and fixing that do take time, and departures from such protocol may make the reading erroneous.
Stay positive.
Avatar universal
Thanks for the additional info Dr Heinrik.  Well, I just heard from my dad, he discussed the results with his specialist just last hour and they didn't find any cancer cells but did find abnormal cells.  So he is going to get a PET scan and a procedure (didn't get the name) where they're going to stick a scope in his side to get a better look.  I was under the impression that PET scans were the be-all-end-all in cancer detection, I guess this is wrong though since they're doing another procedure in addition to it.

He meets with the new surgeon Sept 23.  We are all very, very pleased with today's results, but know he still could have cancer.  What are the success rates of needle biopsies?  It probably depends on many factors, I would think.
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