The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
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Mets to rib soon after surgery for NSCLC?

Has anyone experienced metastases to their ribs from NSCLC? My mum had a call from her hospital today to arrange a pet scan as her oncologist was reviewing a ct scan from 2 weeks ago and has found a tiny spot on a rib which he thinks may be cause for concern... he emphasised it could be inflammation caused by a very large chest drain which was inserted in that area to treat pneumothorax. My mum had surgery for adenocarcinoma 11 weeks ago and was found to have microscopic cells in the lymph nodes and visceral pleura... we are a bit surprised that metastasis is being discussed so soon after surgery particularly when it was completely resected. However my mum has been in a lot of pain since having the drain removed.

We took a cancellation appointment for tomorrow but of course we are worried sick now!

Thanks in advance for any information

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Not had mets but can confirm that the pain following lung surgery can last months and I found the large drain tubes removal extremely painful. The surgery disturbs and cuts through muscle, nerves and sometimes ribs (dependent on method used - more likely in thoracotomy than VATS) and nerve damage can take a lot longer than 11 weeks to repair. So the pain could well be simply the body trying to heal after the surgery. Although guidelines and my surgeon told me that I would be recovered within 3 months, it took around 6 months for me to feel 'well' enough to do some things and longer for others. I will add that I was back at work within 4 months of surgery but lifting, carrying bags, and even climbing stairs took longer than I'd imagined. Still get twinges of pain now (6 years+ since surgery) in certain positions although have had full recovery in general. hope this helps. good luck with your appointment.

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Thank you janetter57!

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Thanks so much for for this info , started with vats but ended up with Thoracotomy and have had rib pain for several months now , also had numerous drains due to surgical emphysema so happy to read your blog , it explains it well xxx

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Dear MissyD1

Sorry to hear about your Mums illness and recent worry with the pet scan. JanetterR57 has given some good advice on what to expect post surgery. The scans are so detailed and can pick up on even previous infection, which is very possible given the drain site entry.

You will have seen the specialist by now, please let us know how it went and how your Mum is doing?

If you wish to discuss anything you can call us on our free nurse led helpline number on 0800 358 7200

All the best

The Roy Castle Support Team

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Hi Roycastlehelpline thanks for the reply! My mum had the scan yesterday and will see the Oncologist on Monday hopefully the results will be available by then! My mum is still in a lot of pain but we are trying to stay positive and hoping for a good outcome x

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Dear MissyD1

Has your Mum been referred to the pain management team, some Hospitals have them , if not contact either the lung cancer nurse or GP to have her pain reassessed. Although pain is expected, there should be comfort provided with different analgesics.

Will be thinking of you , keep us posted how it all goes

The Roy Castle Support Team

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