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scan of lung tumor

By February 2, 2010 - 5:40pm
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my dad has lung cancer, just finished round one of chemo and radiation. The doctor said the tumor hasn't grown and he thinks it is dead. Has anyone heard this terminology? Can a tumor look dead? can a doctor tell if a tumor is dead by looking at a scan? thanks for any help offered.

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HERWriter Guide

Hi Tamilee - Thanks for writing back. While you're in the process of getting more information you may find our lung cancer page helpful:

The American Lung Association also has helpful information, and many of the local chapters have support groups with opportunities for new patients to learn from others who've been through the same experiences.

I'm glad your dad has your strong support, and we'll be here for you when you write again.
Best, Pat

February 3, 2010 - 5:18pm
HERWriter Guide

Hi tamilee - First, I'm sorry to learn that your dad has lung cancer and appreciate your concern for his welfare during treatment and recovery. Lung cancer tumors are referred to as either malignant (active cancer which can invade nearby tissue and can spread to other parts of the body) or benign (does not invade and spread). I have never heard of a tumor being referred to as "dead" and find that terminology surprising. Moreover, it's not very helpful in understanding what your dad is dealing with or where he is in the recovery process. Was the doctor an oncologist (cancer specialist) or another type of physician?

Do you know what type of lung cancer your dad has? Lung cancers are divided into two types:
Non-small Cell Lung Cancer —generally grows and spreads more slowly (This is the more common type of lung cancer.)
Small Cell Lung Cancer —generally grows more quickly and is more likely to spread to other parts of the body.

Once lung cancer is found, staging tests are performed to find out if the cancer has spread and, if so, to what extent. Has your dad been advised of what stage the cancer is in?

Radiation and chemotherapy are both used to kill cancer cells. Has your dad seen the written report about the scan that was done after his treatments? That report should provide him with more accurate information on the status of his cancer that can help him, and you, better understand his situation and whether or not additional radiation or chemotherapy will be needed.

If you have additional questions we would be happy to help, but I hope you will also follow up and find out more about exactly what your dad is dealing with so that you, and we, can provide the best information to support him.

Take good care,

February 2, 2010 - 6:25pm
(reply to Pat Elliott)

Hi Pat, first let me thank you for your response. I will get the answers to the questions you posed and get back to you soon. Again I am thankful for your quick response, as well as your pertinant questions. It is refreshing to find people who want to help and have the knowledge to do so.

Be blessed,

February 3, 2010 - 2:39pm
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