Main Article on Lung Cancer Question: Please describe your experience with lung cancer. Submit Your Comment Comment from: Carole, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 09 I was diagnosed with non-small cell (stage 1) lung cancer. The doctor recommended I have a video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS), a lobectomy (upper lobe, right lung), which he said would be curative if it had not spread. I had the surgery. Pathology confirmed the lymph nodes were clear. However, they could not find the tumor in the removed lobe. They say it's still there and now recommend radiation. Recovery from surgery has been difficult. Almost 4 weeks post-operation. Chest tube was in for 2 weeks. Great difficulty breathing and much pain. Comment from: Lungcamcersucks, 65-74 Male (Caregiver) Published: July 26 My dad was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic lung cancer on May 30 and passed away on July 17. He did everything right, serial CT scan and PET scans, but unfortunately the cancer wasn’t detected until it metastasized to his liver. By then it was too late and it also metastasized to the bone and brain. He did two rounds of chemotherapy and passed away a day before his third round. Looking back I wish the doctors had told us he wasn’t strong enough. He was a walking skeleton at the end. Comment from: asma, 25-34 Female (Caregiver) Published: July 09 My sister 27 years old was pregnant 32 weeks but diagnosed with cancer. The doctor did 6 weeks of radiation and 2 chemotherapies which worked very well. But after 2 months they did an x-ray and her breast place has something. The doctor thinks may be radiation has affected the nerve or it is cancer. Comment from: Angela, 45-54 Female (Caregiver) Published: June 19 My mom was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away five years later at 51 years old. Another five years went by, and dad was also diagnosed (they had been divorced a long time). He died within a year. My two brothers and I are in a perpetual state of mourning and fear that we will be next; this year I am as old as she was when she was diagnosed. Comment from: wendy, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: June 19 My mum got diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. We had roughly 4 weeks with her, but she deteriorated so fast. Mum complained of aches in her shoulders and down her arms at first. My mum insisted it was just years of lifting. The pain didn’t go away and we went to the doctors several times. The first appointment they just suggested pain killers and perhaps she was depressed from losing her husband (our dad) 15 months before. Comment from: Concerned sister, 45-54 Female (Caregiver) Published: August 07 My sister just had 25 percent of her lower left lobe of the lung removed due to cancer lymph nodes removal. It is all clear. Margins around tumor are clear. She is home and it is day three. She has gained 10 lb. in water retention and can barely breathe, not sure if this is normal. Comment from: Twirly, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: July 02 I had lung cancer successfully removed from my upper left lung, in April this year. The remaining part of my lung feels solid I don’t know why. Comment from: cookie, 65-74 (Patient) Published: October 14 I beat lung cancer three years ago, but now have it again. The first time, I had a tumor excised and four rounds of chemo. Now it is in both lungs and have had three rounds, six hours each, with hopefully one left. I was lucky. My doctor made sure I had the proper follow-up tests. Hopefully I have kicked it again. There is so much publicity for breast cancer, and most important tests for the disease. Why is lung cancer on the last page of the newspaper? There has to be more proactive tests and publicly for this disease. Most people diagnosed do not stand a chance to beat it. How can we get the attention that breast cancer does? Comment from: J thomas, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 02 I am a 52 year old female who experienced a collapsed lung out of the blue. One morning nobody was home at the time and I wasn't quite sure what had happened. I was healthy as far as I knew. I drove myself to the hospital to find out I had a collapsed lung. So I was sent to emergency surgery, went home 5 days later perfectly fine. 1 week later it happened again same procedure done but this time did a cat scan and found a nodule that ended up being cancer. A 9 hour surgery took place a few days later, called a lobectomy since then I have noticed my breathing has been different when I take in a breath I hear like an air leak this has been going on for almost 6 months. Today I went in for a pulmonary test to try to find out what this is. I pray it’s something simple like maybe an inhaler. I quit smoking almost 6 months ago and trying to keep the faith that I'm so Lucky because this whole ordeal has been a blessing in disguise. God bless to all of you, you are all in my prayers, please all keep in touch and maybe we can get through this together. QUESTION Lung cancer is a disease in which lung cells grow abnormally in an uncontrolled way. See Answer Comment from: Twirly, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: June 26 I had cancer removed from my upper left lung in April. I feel as if my ribs have stretched, and I keep getting very sharp pain. Comment from: Concerned Niece, Male Published: August 02 We just found out my uncle by marriage has lung cancer. It is the kind that will keep reoccurring. He has been a smoker way over 60 years and always bragged about it not affecting him. Now he has 3 different types. Only a month ago they found a spot on the lung now it is showing on the esophagus. Doctors still do not know what they are going to do, talking about radiation. I pray that they do something quickly because the prognosis is not looking good his bones hurt and he doesn't have any energy to do the things he wants to do. Comment from: Smoking Kills, 65-74 Female (Caregiver) Published: August 02 My father had lung cancer in his right lung. The doctors destroyed his right lung with additional maintenance chemo. They sent him home to die. It's six months later; he's still alive but can't do anything but sit in a chair. He can't do much with one lung. Smoking for 50 years can do that to you. He quit smoking the day before the cancer surgery. That's the only reason he's still barely breathing today. By the way, he has chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) in his left lung. He is really struggling. Comment from: belowzero, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 02 I am 53. I had a CT scan for something else and a small nodule was found in my lower left lobe. A biopsy revealed it was cancer. In March, I had a thoracotomy and lower left lobectomy and a small wedge resection of upper left due to another smaller nodule. I had no lymph involvement. I have a suspicious cloudy opacity in my upper right lung that is being "watched." All in all, the surgery and recovery have gone well, although the thoracotomy is an unpleasant and painful recovery even when everything goes well. I am due to go in for another CT scan in January to observe any changes in the upper right lobe--surgery might be considered and I am going to ask about a biopsy which has not been done. I think the "wait and see" approach is questionable--especially with lung cancer. Comment from: heartbroken, 45-54 Male (Caregiver) Published: August 02 My fiance had a cold and went to the doctor twice. He was put on antibiotics first and then steroids. He was exhausted and couldn't breathe. No chest X-ray was ordered. I think he knew something terrible was wrong and delayed further treatment. He finally let me take him to the ER. It was stage three non-small cell squamous cell cancer. He was in the hospital for four days. Then he had 10 days at home with me and spent the rest of his life in the hospital. He died in my arms. He was the love of my life. I am thankful his suffering wasn't extended. I will miss him forever. Comment from: gailc3, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 02 I have extensive stage SCLC with metastasis in the lymph node abutting the pulmonary artery. I have had infection in the incision also an abscess formed and was removed by using needles. I now have a hematoma under the incision. Doctors have decided not to treat it. Other than that, I am being treated with chemo. Comment from: Hadia, 45-54 Female (Caregiver) Published: August 02 My husband who is 51 was diagnosed last November 2011 as small cell carcinoma (small cell lung cancer) extensive stage. As it started in his upper lobe of his right lung spread to his liver. He started chemotherapy last December and we are waiting for the first assessment in January. We found out when he went for chest X-ray after he coughed and spit blood. He was suffering from bad cough for very long time that never went away. He was perfectly healthy and active and never thought that he is a cancer patient until the day of the biopsy lab result came out. We have no choice but to go for the chemo and follow his ecologist advices. The treatment is too hard. He stopped smoking right before the first chemo therapy. He is in a denial state till this moment that he is a cancer patient. Comment from: donovan, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: August 02 I’m 61. Last year, I was talking to a friend at a meeting and my voice disappeared. I went to the doctor and I was put on antibiotics for a week. Then I went to an ENT specialist and he said that one of my vocal cords was not vibrating. After a CT scan, it was found that I have cancer in my lung and pancreas. I stopped smoking about 40 years ago. Comment from: Annie, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 02 I was a 59-year-old female. It was this year when a CT scan found a spot on my lower left lung. I had been having bad shoulder and arm pain. A week later a biopsy confirmed lung cancer. Then two weeks later I had to go to RNS Hospital for a PET scan which showed no spread. Then I had surgery to remove the lower left lobe and the pathology came back clear so no chemo or radiation. I do require a scan every year for 5 years. SLIDESHOW Lung Cancer: Early Signs, Symptoms, Stages See Slideshow Comment from: rtw1212, 65-74 Male (Caregiver) Published: August 02 My husband is 68. He never smoked and was in good health. A routine blood test and follow up CT scan and X-rays found tumors on his spine and a tumor in his lower lung. A biopsy was done after a wait of one month. He has stage four lung cancer. He has no symptoms. He has a mutant gene. There is a group of people who have no symptoms and have never smoked. They all have this mutant gene. He just started taking a chemo drug you take by pill. The side effects are less and you take it at home. Comment from: bev, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: August 02 On a yearly routine check up with pulmonary clinic, an X-ray was taken. After CTs MRI etc, it was decided to have small tumor removed. The tumor was as small as a thumbnail and not spread. Luckily there was no other cancer. I do not expect any more cancer because all was taken out. I’m now recuperating. Comment from: ccrider, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 02 I have lung cancer and I am tired all the time. I have no appetite and sometimes, it feels like my heart is going to jump out of my chest. I also have bleeding in my stools and achy bones. Comment from: Harry, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: August 02 Three years ago (2007) I had a CT scan as a follow-up for a nodule in my right upper lung which was found many years ago. I had CT's every 3 years or so. A mass was detected and a biopsy was done and the pathologist in attendance said that it was cancer. I was told that it was a small mass and that they would resection the upper right lobe and that I would probably have chemo and maybe radiation after the surgery. The result was that they removed the right upper and middle lobes and the oncologist said that I did not need chemo or radiation. My only follow-up has been seeing my pulmonologist every 6 months when a chest x-ray is done and about every other visit a breathing test is also done. He told me early in the follow-up that if I had a recurrence that it most likely would not be in my lungs. He said, and put it in writing, that there is no recommended follow-up for lung cancer. I have a problem with that since all cancer organizations talk about "early detection." I was very lucky with my first experience that it was detected early and removed. I guess that now I have to just wait until it is detected when it is beyond treatment. I find it hard to believe that there isn't any kind of follow-up other than a chest x-ray. I still consider myself very lucky, but I just don't think that I'll be that fortunate the next time. Comment from: Daughter, 65-74 Female (Caregiver) Published: August 02 My mom was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer on April 9. She passed away April 26. She had been in and out of the hospital so many times for two years, always for problems with breathing. Since she was a smoker who had been diagnosed with COPD, it seemed that was all they treated her for. When I asked the doctor (at the hospital, not my mom's primary doctor) how it could have gotten so bad and we never knew, given all the trips to the hospital, he told me about a CT scan that had been done 9 months earlier. It showed amass and the radiologist said that malignancy needed to be ruled out. No one ever told us about this test. No one ever followed up on it, even though she was back in the hospital at least once a month after that. Also, in January 2009 (16months before diagnosis) my mom had been visiting me in Chicago. She became ill and I took her to my doctor who ordered a chest X-ray. She recommended a CT scan and I had her send the pictures to my mom's doctor. I took her to see him and he said it was just a shadow. Of course we were relieved but obviously he ignored a chance to get a very early diagnosis, twice, which might have made a difference. My mom complained of all sorts of symptoms that went ignored - back pain, head pain, fatigue, etc. She never had a chance. She kept saying there is something wrong that they are not finding. It is awful. We took her home with hospice care and it was shocking how fast she succumbed. I miss her every day. Comment from: his wife, 35-44 Female (Caregiver) Published: August 02 Two years ago, my husband who was only 41 when he passed died from lung cancer. Lung cancer is a cruel disease. For months, the doctors gave us the impression that he would be fine. He underwent chemo and radiation every day for three months. We were told that the tumor was shrinking and that he was doing well, but as soon as the treatment stopped, the cancer grew like crazy. He was admitted to the hospital for what we thought was pneumonia and he passed away while he was there. I was devastated. This is a terrible disease that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. People seem to be under the impression that this disease is self-inflicted, which sickens me to death. Comment from: lvdolan, 45-54 Female (Caregiver) Published: August 02 My 53-year-old husband went for an H1N1 shot. Then he developed a low-grade fever and an awful annoying cough. He went to an ER and now everything is happening so fast; we thought it was the flu, instead he has two masses on his right lung and his lymph nodes are swollen; he is going for an MRI to his brain; PT scan and a biopsy all in a week. His coughing is still consistent and awful and we are all up all night long. The waiting is killing us all - 25 years ago he was diagnosed with testicular cancer and underwent radiation - doctors are saying it could either be the cancer coming back or lung cancer. This is site is very helpful; and your testimonials are giving me hope. My husband also has diabetes and hypertension, and is not only a former cancer survivor but an occasional smoker. Comment from: gazania, 75 or over Male (Caregiver) Published: August 02 My father just died of metastatic lung cancer. He was diagnosed in September and had a battery of tests before the doctors determined that with 2 rounds of chemo, he could have a good chance of survival. December 3, he was having excruciating hip pain. He underwent a hip replacement due to a fracture. It was determined that the cancer had metastasized and he was no longer a candidate for the lung surgery. He had more chemo, but it seems that once the cancer had metastasized, it went through his body like wildfire. He had a fracture of his upper humerus at the end of February; had that orthopedically repaired and died on March 3rd. His final scan that had been done just 3 weeks before his death revealed lesions on his spine, ribs, scapula and questionable spots on his liver. These had not been biopsied for proof, but were suspicious. He had been a heavy smoker, but quit almost 50 years ago. On this site, I read that a symptom of metastatic lung cancer is degeneration of the brain. We saw this with dad. It wasn't a dramatic change, but he was very slow to process verbal information and his hearing (which had always been bad) was almost completely gone. My heart goes out to anyone who cares for a family member who has cancer. Comment from: Left Sister, 45-54 Male Published: August 02 My 50 year old brother was a long haul truck driver and had been a heavy smoker since he was a teen. He thought he was healthy even though I begged him to stop smoking. On one of his cross country trips he noticed what looked like an infected hair on his upper leg close to his groin. He went to the doctor who put him in the hospital and surgically removed the infection, then stuffed cotton into the hole and left it to drain. During the course of his treatment lung X-rays were taken when the cancer was found. My brother died six months to the day from diagnosis. Cancer not only takes the smoker, it destroys all the loved ones left behind. Comment from: JENN, 65-74 Female (Caregiver) Published: August 02 THIS ARTICLE IS WONDERFUL. IT GAVE US SOME QUESTIONS TO TAKE TO THE DOCTOR DURING OUR VISIT. VERY INFORMATIVE, AND READABLE. THANK YOU. JENNIFER REGISTERED NURSE Comment from: R B Montana, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 02 I am a lung cancer survivor of 10 years. As a 46-year old mother of two, a non-smoker and a very active person, I still fear what may lie ahead. The doctors removed a lobe of my lung and felt the cancer was encapsulated. I was not given chemo or radiation and I often worry about that decision on the part of my doctors. I am relieved to read of others who are still alive and doing well having had this same experience. It is hard living with this diagnosis and it has taken me many years to even think I was going to survive it. Best of luck to all of you! Comment from: CaseyL, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 02 I am a 41 year old single mom of five children. I was diagnosed with lung cancer in June. I have been through 38 radiation treatments as well as chemo treatments. While doing the radiation treatments, the pain in the spine had just about gone away. Now that the treatments have stopped the pain in my spine is worse than before. Last week an MRI was done and the tumor is shrinking and seems to be moving away from the spinal cord. Hopefully in three weeks when the pet scan is done this tumor will be gone. Comment from: Teresa, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: August 02 My 57-year-old husband has had four X-rays in eight months that were all clear. He started having shoulder pain and went to the E.R. where a CAT scan shows that both of his lungs have nodes on them. His lungs are so bad a biopsy would not be done. He will not be receiving treatment and he was given two to three months to live. Comment from: colette, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 02 In 2001, I underwent radiation treatment for head and neck tumors. They have pre-cancer cells, (whatever that means). I nearly starved to death and required a feeding tube for six weeks after treatment. Recently, I had a CT scan of my upper boddy and the doctor found a nodule-type mass in my right lung. He wants to wait three months and repeat the CT scan to see if the mass has gotten larger and possibly biopsy it. I have been a smoker for 42 years and this seem odd to me. I don’t understand why a mass of any size would be put on hold. Comment from: seattlady, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 02 I was diagnosed with lung cancer twelve years ago. An upper part of my right lung was removed. The surgeon left a small piece of the lung in my chest. It was a difficult and painful procedure, but thankful that it was taken care of before it had spread. I took a long time to heal and still have shortness of breath and get fatigued. Recently, I began experiencing a spot of pain in my lower right back. After a cat scan, a spot was found and the doctor put me on Cefuroxime Axetil for ten days. He wanted to do a needle biopsy right away, but the doctor who read the cat scan advised the antibiotic first. So, that's where I am now. Twelve years ago when they did a needle biopsy, my lungs started to collapse and they had to do a very painful procedure, plunging a needle into my left lung before it collapsed. That was extremely painful and I surely don't want that to happen again. So now I am waiting to see what this antibiotic is going to do. Hopefully, all I have is an infection, and I'm praying that is all it is. Thanks for reading this. Hope is helps someone. Comment from: NinjaEX, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 02 I have been getting CT scans every year, for the past four, as part of an early detection study. This year they found some suspicious new spots in some lobes. Have to go back in December for another look. I am hoping it was just an infection like they said it might be, but my husband, still a smoker, gas emphysema and refuses to go back for another scan. He says whatever time he has left, is what he has left. I feel he is so selfish and doesn't care if he leaves me alone. I also have Fibromyalgia, which robbed me of my work. I can't stand the thought of watching him die, when he could be getting help. I feel he is being an ostrich on the sand with this attitude and not a loving spouse. We've been married almost 25 years, but I feel like I am alone. Why would someone not get help they need? Why does he not see that getting to something early might lessen the severity? Now I feel that I will probably be diagnosed with it and he will outlive me. All your stories were informative though, I thank you for sharing them. Comment from: nancy7541, 45-54 Female (Caregiver) Published: August 02 I know what everyone is going through, I lost my husband at the age of 50 and we did not know he had cancer. This disease is a very ugly one. I am going trough a real tough time with out him.