When I developed shortness of breath and a dry cough after my breast cancer treatment, the first thing doctors checked for was lung mets. Since it turned out that I didn't have anything visible, they moved on to checking for heart issues and asthma. We also discussed the possibility of radiation damage to the lung. Your chills do sound more like some sort of infection such as pneumonia or pleurisy, so maybe you had a combination of things going on. Those lung nodules might not be mets, but they are growing, so they should be taken seriously. A PET scan might be able to determine if they are cancer if they are in an area that would be too invasive to biopsy easily.
I'd be inclined to ask for a second opinion from a comprehensive cancer center if you are not already being seen at one. It sounds like your doctor hesitates to be upfront with you about the extent of your disease, and you seem to be a person who wants all the information even if it is discouraging. Also there may be other treatments besides the hormonal one you are taking. Aromasin and its cousins can be very effective, but it I'm wondering if chemo might also be a good option. I'm not a doctor, and I don't have all the facts, but talking to a breast cancer specialist would give you an expert opinion on what the nodules are and what to do next.
Thanks for your response. I have already had a lumpectomy (with clear margins). 5 cycles of taxotere and cytoxan, 30 radiation treatments, and 15 months on Arimidex with a great prognosis . . . but it appears that it was not successful. I don't know that I necessarily need all the gory details, but I was hopeful that the one growing nodule could be explained by something . . . then I found out that I had multiple growing nodules on both lungs. I just hope it turns what to be something other than metastases but keep going back to what would cause multiple growing nodules . . . so I hope there is some treatment out there that will zap them.
Yes, there are good treatments for lung mets if that is what these are. Of course, it will be even better if there is some benign cause for what they are seeing. I do know people who have seen their lung mets reduced or stabilized with treatment. Good luck to you.
Teddy, we're not doctors here; just well-read breast cancer survivors. I feel your doctor, with access to your medical history and test results, could answer these questions better than we could. If you don't feel you're getting a straight story from your oncologist; and/or you don't feel the "wait and watch" approach for the lung nodule is reasonable, your best bet would be to ask for a referral for a second opinion, OK? It's perfectly wtihin your rights, and it sounds like this might both lower your stress level, and provide the answers you're seeking. Best of luck- PJH
Thanks! I received the reports from my two CT scans and it appears that my oncologist held back some of the information. Between March and June, I had multiple nodules grow from 2mm to 4mm, 4mm to 7mm and 6mm to 11mm. It also sounds like there are other nodules in the lungs in addition to these three. It was disheartening to read the words "worrisome for growing diffuse multiple pulmonary metastases. My oncologist and surgeon led me to believe that only one nodule had changed and that there were three in all.
Have you heard good things about aromasin? I now see why they switched me from Arimidex/Anastrozole as it might not have prevented/slowed a recurrence. I am in excellent health and hope that my 100%ER+ will respond to Aromasin and shrink my nodules by my next CT scan in Aug/Sept.
Do they plan to biopsy the nodules to see what they are? Aromasin won't have any effect on them if they're not cancer (which hopefully, they're not). All three aromatase inhibitors – Arimidex, Aromasin, and Femara - work slightly differently to reach the same goal: preventing your body from producing estrogen. It may be that Aromasin will work better for you than Arimidex; and if the lung nodules are a metastasis from the breast cancer, then hopefully Aromasin does its job well... I wish you all the best. PJH
No biopsy yet as they are too small and biopsy can be inconclusive and risky on something that small. Since there are multiple nodules and they are growing, I can't imagine what else they are but metastases, unfortunately.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. If they aren't metastases, maybe that's why the arimidex didn't appear to work. Unfortunately, no one has been able to give me an example of something that would change in size in the lung that wasn't related to metastases.
I'm hoping for the best!!!
Teddy, something that's inconclusive remains just that until proven otherwise. It's possible these nodules are something else - they just don't know what. So hold onto that hope, OK? If they were quite certain these were cancer, I'd think they'd already be considering chemo... Again, I wish you the best. Sending you healing energy- PJH
And again, thank you!!!
Please make them do a biopsy. That is not true about being to small. The procedure is relatively painless and you have conscious sedation. Who said inconclusve that is crap they can do a biopsy. I listened to three Doctors tell me my nodules were not lung cancer because lung cancer is never bi-lateral. Well 5 years later they changed there tune and at 53 I have stage 4 lung cancer and have had my upper left lung removed and lymph nodes and 16 weeks of chemo and am getting ready to radiate or operate on my right lung. Lung nodules are being blown off by tons of Dr's don't let them. Find a Thoracic surgeon that who has a radio;ogist qualified to do that biopsy. I will gladly answer any questions I can to help. Good luck, Mary firstname.lastname@example.org
I would like to add something after reading another post about having a PET Scan to determine if it's cancer. PET SCANS ARE NOT RELIABLE!! I had one thing show pet positive and 3 cancerous tumors and 19 lumph nodes turn out to be cancer after biopsy. Read the statistics PET scans are not real reliable. Do not bet your life on their results PLEASE!
Mary, you are right that PET scans are only one piece of information, and don't always tell the whole story. When a suspicious nodule or tumor is in a place that is difficult or dangerous to biopsy, sometimes a PET scan is the best tool doctors have for diagnosis. As you point out, patients need to ask questions and ask for additional tests when results are inconclusive.