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DO I HAVE LUNG CANCER?

big bob
Posted by

hi, just wondering if you could allay or confirm my wife's fears that i have lung cancer, i had a CT Scan in Nov 19 and i received a letter from my specialist saying they had found a round opacity in my right lower lobe, but the review meeting they believe it is benign and i would have a 2nd CT Scan in 3 months i have received an appointment for feb 20, a few symptons / changes i have noticed are: 1) no energy 2)constant mild chest pain 3)swollen stomach 4)short of breath 5) a general feeling of being unwell. i have mentined theese symptoms to my GP but she only says whatever it is , it is benign im not convinced but i know this waiting is killing us and would rather know can you help please? thanks robert. NB: My granddad died of TB, my grandmother died of breast cancer, i gave up smoking about 7 years ago due to tripple heart bypass, i all so have COPD, I smoked heavy for 30 years. many thanks 

Linda - Macmillan
Posted by

Hi big bob,

Thanks for your post and welcome to our online community. This sounds like such a difficult time for both you and your wife. It’s only natural to wonder what this means for you.

But it would be difficult even for a specialist to answer your question with great certainty just now, this is the reason for the repeat scan. The area in question may have been too small to be thoroughly examined or biopsied. When this is the case it is standard practice to repeat scans after a period of around 3 months. During this time the irregularity might disappear or remain unchanged supporting the probability of it being benign. If there is an increase in size or shape it can lead to an increased suspicion of a cancer being present, resulting in further investigations. Having a scan earlier would offer little or value as it would not have enough time to allow for change to happen.

It’s understandable that this is a tough time for you just now, and it’s the not knowing that’s hard to deal with. Many people tell us irrespective of what it is, once they know their diagnosis their anxiety begins to settle, and they can plan for what lies ahead of them.

If you can, it’s good for you and your wife to try and stick with your normal routine as much as possible. Some people will keep themselves busy by catching up on things they have been putting off. Though the worry won’t disappear completely finding ways of distracting yourselves might give you both some much needed respite. Resources from both the NHS and every mind matters can be invaluable as you wait.

In the meantime, if you find your symptoms change or you develop new health concerns it is important to see your GP.

If you’d like to call us, to talk over your worries you and your wife are welcome to call us. If we can help further please don’t hesitate to get back in touch.

Take care, Linda (Cancer Information Nurse Specialist)

big bob
Posted by

Hi, many thanks for your reply, all though you didn't have the answers you were able to reassure us that what is happening ie: 3 months wait then a re scan is the normal and why. unfortunately you hear that much about waiting lists you often wonder if some times there are delays to reduce numbers. so if I understand correctly the out comes from the re scan will be: 1) irregularity disappears = discharged. 2) no change = re scan another 3 months. 3) got bigger= more tests but likely to be cancer ? many thanks bob   

Ellen M-Macmillan
Posted by

Hi ,

Thanks for getting back in touch with us. I’m glad that you found Linda’s reply helpful.

Your understanding of what Linda has said about the potential outcomes of your next scan are almost correct.

If the opacity gets bigger in a 3 months period, this would indicate that it was growing, and the suspicion of a cancer would increase.

It doesn’t mean that it was a definite cancer, but doctors would be recommending further scans and discussing whether they were able to do a biopsy to confirm a diagnosis.

If your symptoms are getting worse, it’s important that you do let your specialist know so that you can be reviewed.

Doctors know that waiting for tests can cause anxiety, and no doctor would have you waiting 3 months for a review if they thought it was detrimental to your health. They are being prudent and want to make sure that they are ruling out the possibility of a cancer.

If you’re feeling that the anxiety is causing you both to get distressed it’s important that you let your GP know so that you can get help.

Waiting till February will feel like an eternity, every day will feel so long, but I hope that you are both able to look at the resources that Linda suggested.

Best wishes and take care.

Ellen-Macmillan Online Digital Nurse Specialist.