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This is going to be cancer isn't it?!

(91 Posts)
Olderkidsaremine Mon 26-Nov-12 13:07:29

My Dad has had a rough time of it over the last few years - servere mental health issues and approx 10 years ago a big operation to remove lymph nodes in his neck due to skin cancer and weeks of radiothearpy afterwards.

Last Tuesday he had a chest xray after complaining about a pain in his chest - long story about doctors dismissing his concerns because his heart sounded fine and he didn't seem to have a problem with breathing, mum insisted on xray! Anyway on Thursday he had a call arranging for a consultants appointment on the 5th December and then over the weekend a letter came through booking him in for a 'scan' on Saturday 1st at 1.30pm.

We are all trying to stay positive - better knowing sooner rather than later etc etc. But this isn't going to end well is it? Any ideas what it could be? Should mention that he has been a smoker for over 50 years.

digerd Mon 26-Nov-12 15:40:30

My DB smoked 40 a day for over 40 years, and is as fit as a fiddle.
My uncle smoked 60 a day and never had any cancer
My grandad smoked until his death at 81, never had cancer.
A friend of parents smoked until he was 87 and died at 91 - never had cancer.
My dad smoked until he was 65, no cancer.

There are some people who will be susceptible to other lung diseases if they smoke(ed).
Your dad has had skin cancer with lymph node secondaries, but that was 10 years ago.
It is good that he is having a scan on Thursday. What type of scan and is it for his heart or his lungs?

digerd Mon 26-Nov-12 15:45:35

Oh, I see the scan is this Saturday and the consultant next week.

RunnerHasbeen Mon 26-Nov-12 15:48:42

Not necessarily, he is being seen early because he has these risk factors, it shouldn't add to the reasons to worry. It is also reassuring that he isn't having many symptoms and his breathing is fine, so even if it is cancer they will have caught it earlier than a lot of cases. He needs to try to stop smoking though, really try, whether this is a cancer or not. I can't think of anything that might cause chest pain that isn't exacerbated by smoking. It could be COPD or an infection of some sort. Good luck.

CMOTDibbler Mon 26-Nov-12 15:55:34

TBH, you just can't say what it could be, and its best not to Google or try and second guess. Obv as a long time smoker, your dad is at high risk for lots of non cancerous lung conditions like empysema, and as an xray isn't very specific for anything, they need a CT to see more.

RooneyMara Mon 26-Nov-12 18:18:55

Is there any way you or he/you mum could ring the Dr and ask why he has to see the consultant? Or why he is having a scan - that will give you more of an idea than we can on here, we can only guess.

I'm sorry you're so worried.
As others have said it could be any number of things, x rays are usually not that conclusive. It could be a recurrance of the cancer he had before, or something entirely different...chest infection, that sort of thing. Or maybe they are just doing it to rule out anything nasty.

Hope he is Ok x

LittenTree Mon 26-Nov-12 19:39:40

You must remember that a chest Xray is a 2D representation of a 3D structure. 2 innocent 'things' overlying each other can combine to look 'sinister' on a chest Xray- which is why a CT scan is in order as the next port of call. Happens all the time. He's being seen quickly because he's on a certain pathway that just might be cancer. It's called the 2 week wait which means from referral to diagnosis (or first attempt at one) should only take up to 2 weeks. 'Shadows' on chest Xrays on lifelong heavy smokers always invoke the 2WW.

You have to grit your teeth and wait to see the result of the CT which is the definitive test.

My mum has smoked 50 a day from 20 to nearly 80.

Fit as a fiddle.

Your dad could well walk away from this experience with a shrug, as many do!

Good luck.

I thing there is a lot to be said for everything people have mentioned but in all honesty I would prepare for the worst.

thewhistler Mon 26-Nov-12 19:49:45

Because it is a chest pain they will want to check it is not a chest or lung infection, or a problem with the heart. And any chest pain they want to do fast, especially at his age. Add his history and he gets the extra speedy treatment. And they don't want waiting lists either.

Sounds like a sensible hospital to me.

BeaWheesht Mon 26-Nov-12 19:53:45

I honestly think just wait and see. It could be something such as narrowing. / hardening of the arteries which can be fixed, it could be an infection, it could be anything.

You can't 'prepare for the worst' IMO so don't dwell on it of you can avoid it. Ime te only useful thing you can do at this point is have some general questions ready and make sure your dad has someone with him at the appt and you take a pen and pencil.

Olderkidsaremine Mon 26-Nov-12 22:09:49

Thanks for all the replies, we are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst - if that makes sense at this stage. Talked to my mum earlier and she has confirmed that it is a CT scan and that its for his lungs and not his heart.

So at the moment its wait and see.

thewhistler Tue 27-Nov-12 08:56:11

Thinking of you and hope all goes well.

expatinscotland Tue 27-Nov-12 09:02:30

Not necessarily. My dad's smoked for 60 years and never got cancer. He probably won't as he's close to 80 now. His dad smoked for over 70 years and never got cancer, he died of heart failure at the age of 90. His mother smoked a pipe for over 70 years and never got cancer, she died of heart failure age 92. My mother smoked for about 50 years and never got cancer, either.

digerd Tue 27-Nov-12 16:30:38

Yes CT for lungs, and echocardiogram for heart. He's getting proper care and promptly.

You will be told the results next week when he sees the consultant.

All the best of luck for him. Keeping fingers crossed.

Reenypip Wed 28-Nov-12 21:21:26

It could be anything. They might have just seen a shadow and wanted to just have a clearer look with a ct scan,
There are other things it could be, like A Blood clot in the lungs.

Walnutcakelover Wed 28-Nov-12 21:41:52

Hope all goes well, all the best. Fingers crossed.x

Olderkidsaremine Wed 05-Dec-12 12:17:39

Thanks for all the support but it is lung cancer. Been referred to another hospital for more tests etc so will know more on Friday. Although I was expecting it it has hit me hard - busy trying not to cry at work!

digerd Wed 05-Dec-12 13:06:38

My DH had that. There are 2 types - a small cellular and non small cellular, he had the latter, and had already spread to the brain and was advanced stage.

Hope your dad's is caught in time to be cured. Good Luck

GladbagsGold Wed 05-Dec-12 13:10:03

Oh so sorry for shocking news. Was reading the thread and really hoping it would 'only' be pneumonia. Like digerd I hope your Dad's is curable and send you lots of luck.

digerd Wed 05-Dec-12 13:10:41

ps
He had a tumor biopsy through endoscopy, and from that they could determine the stage. As his was advanced he then had a CT scan to see if/where it had spread to, then work out best type of chemo/ radiotherapy appropriate for him. Expect your dad will have the same tests

digerd Wed 05-Dec-12 13:18:10

OP
It might not be the same cancer as my DH, as could be a latent extended disease from his skin cancer that had spread to lymph nodes 10 years ago.
Dr. told me that Dh's cancer had started as abnormal cells probably 20 years ago.

Walnutcakelover Wed 05-Dec-12 13:21:43

older I am so sorry, what a terrible shock for you and your family. Sending you my prayers.

magso Wed 05-Dec-12 13:52:33

Olderkids I am so sorry the news was what you feared. Expecting and preparing for bad news does not really prepare you for the shock of getting bad news. Its hard to get the brain to think of anything else. It some ways I found it easier once we knew what was planned (for my loved ones). You are in my thoughts.

Incapinka Wed 05-Dec-12 20:06:56

Am so sorry and completely understand about the crying. My DM has just been diagnosed with a particularly rare form of cancer and it has turned our world upside down. I have never cried so much in the last few weeks... My sympathies are with you and your family and will keep my fingers crossed for you on Friday. My DM is having her first session of chemo that day too. I have been burying my head in the sand the last week apart from when discussing her finances and what she wants done in the future if she isn't around which is particularly tough, especially seeing her so scared, but on a whole she looks ok and trying to be active. I am just scared how the chemo will affect her and I guess that will make the cancer more real. Thoughts are with you and apologies for going on...

Walnutcakelover Wed 05-Dec-12 21:34:33

incapinka I am really sorry to hear about your dm, it must be a tough time for you and your family. My prayers are with you and your mum.

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