The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
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Feeling confused

My dad (aged 72) was diagnosed with stage 2 lung cancer last February. The cancer hadn't spread, so surgery was a good option. He is very fit and healthy and has never smoked. He had a successful lobectomy in March and they took some nearby lymph nodes which came back clear. He was advised to have four rounds of adjuvant chemotherapy as a double insurance, just to try to sweep up any stray cells that didn't show up on a scan. He finished his chemo on August 9th and had a CT scan two weeks later. The oncologist said that everything was clear and to go away and enjoy his life. He had another scan scheduled for 6 weeks later.

This was last Friday and on Sunday he experienced some short spells of confusion and was finding it hard to co-ordinate his movements. He decided to go to hospital as he thought he may be having a stroke. They scanned his head and found a 2.5cm tumour on his brain. What I'm feeling confused about is would this be likely to be a metastasis of the lung cancer, given that there was no lymphatic involvement and all his blood test came back clear? How would it have spread? Is this more likely to be a separate brain cancer or benign tumour and could it be a side effect of the chemo?

Has anyone else been through anything like this? He is due for a PET scan on Tuesday.



2 Replies

Sorry to hear about your dad. I am sorry I dont know the answer, however if your dad was assigned a lung cancer nurse specialist he/she should be able to help you. I know mine was superb at finding out things for me.


Hi there,

There could be a variety of explanations for this, as you have described yourself. It is possible that it is a metastasis, however it could also be another primary. A CT or MRI can sometimes differentiate between a primary and secondary tumour. Blood tests don't often show up these abnormalities and there are other ways that metastases can spread to distant parts of the body other than via the bloodstream and lymphatic system. Hopefully the PET scan will give you greater clarification, however the results may take a couple of weeks.

Best wishes,

Beth, on behalf of Information and support.


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