Anxious : I’m due to have my PET scan... - The Roy Castle Lu...

The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation

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I’m due to have my PET scan next Tuesday and I’m starting to get anxious about what it will reveal? I know there is a 2cm mass, just terrified more will show up.

I’ve just read on another page of a very brave young lady having a right lung lobectomy today and they are also removing 3 ribs?! Im obviously hopeful for curative surgery, but the thought of loosing ribs hadn’t even crossed my mind?

Does that happen a lot with lobectomy? Sorry, but I’m panicked now!🤯xx

7 Replies


Don't panic! This very much depends on which surgical procedure is used. Your surgeon will discuss with you which operation is most suitable to remove your tumour.

For example, with a Thoracotomy: An incision is made around the side of your body, below your shoulder blade and between your ribs. The ribs are spread to get access to the lungs.

Whereas with VATS – Video Assisted Thoracoscopic Surgery (Keyhole Surgery): Your surgeon uses a video camera and one to three small cuts (between 1 and 5cm) to perform the operation. Incisions are generally made under the arm and/or just below the shoulder blade. The ribs are not spread.

I have attached a copy of our lung surgery booklet which is available at;

If you would like to speak to one of the helpline nurses please call 0800 358 7200(Option 2) from 9.00am Monday-Thursday and 9.00am -4.00pm Friday.

Kind regards,

All the helpline support team.

Thank you, I’ve got myself in a right old tizzle!


RoyCastleHelplineAdministrator in reply to Kbucie

No problem,take care.

Everyone is different and every treatment is different please try not to stress as much until you know and they will do the best treatment for you which might not be the same treatment as someone else with the same as your mutations are different! There are so many possibilities. I hope everything goes ok for you. X

sorry to read that you've worked yourself up - that's the downside of online posts - we can imagine we all have the same condition when there are many types of lung cancer, tumours can be in different positions within our chest structure and we may have other conditions that all could impact. I had open thoracotomy surgery that removed a 7cm tumour and half my left lung (there are 3 lobes in the right lung) in Dec 2010 and one of my ribs was cut. It showed on chest x-rays but I wouldn't have known otherwise until the surgeon pointed it out - it certainly wasn't removed. When people break their ribs in accidents, there is no treatment - they just heal.

In a way, sometimes we can find out 'too much detail' that then frightens in the quest for keeping patients informed - I'm often curious why people with lung cancer get so frightened about surgery or other treatments and decide not to proceed despite this offering them a good chance of treatment yet if they were in a car accident and something had to be removed internally or a toe/finger etc but it would save their life they wouldn't ask for all the details....human behaviour and our reactions are complex at the best of times but when our imagination is running riot, that only adds to it.

was back at work and swimming 3 months later and still lead an active working life. so try not to worry - the booklet on the Roy Castle lung cancer foundation website is a very useful guide to answer questions and suggest recovery milestones - I wish it had been out when I had mine done.

good luck with your PET scan - one you have a treatment plan it will reduce your anxiety as you can then prepare for the 'what is' rather than fret about the 'what if' in the meantime try and distract yourself from it dominating your every waking thought...

Kbucie in reply to JanetteR57

Thank you for you’re reply. I’m hugely great full that surgery is an option, I’m also very aware that lots of people aren’t given that option.

I agree with you, that when a treatment plan is in place things will seem less stressful.

My issue is and to be honest I know how silly this will sound , in the grand scheme of things....I’m needle phobic , terrified of sutures( had 2 bad experiences!) and lastly broken bones on any level!😖 So theses are things I’m definitely going to have to work on and get over pretty quickly!😀

K x

I sympathise - when I was 12 I was in hospital with a suspected collapsed lung and was being quite a 'baby' about the needle they wanted to give me but there was a 7 yr old girl in the bed next to me with a hole in her heart who had clearly had a lot of procedures in her short life and not flinching. I can still remember my dad telling me not to be such a baby when crying about the needle. Thankfully I overcame that and donated blood for some years and became more interested in watching what the medics were doing which stood me in good stead for my experience in 2010/2011 and since. Even if you had surgery as Roy Castle lung cancer foundation has replied, many people have their ribs spread and if keyhole, this doesn't happen at all so try not to worry about things that may prove to be irrelevant as it wastes precious energy and emotion. good luck.

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