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Lung & Chest area Mets (Symptoms) (3-7-06)

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Lung & Chest area Mets (Symptoms) (3-7-06)
NIH's Explaination of METS
Neck area Mets Symptoms (added 2/20/06)
Diet, trials, exercise, support...( Ann Mc. sent to support group with links 2/7/06
Types of Invasive Breast Cancer (Ductal/Lobular)
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Bone Mets, Bone Marrow Biopsy "Listen!!!" (update 2/18/06)
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Chest Wall & Lung Symptoms (updated 1/28/06)
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My BC Story (Sent to the Tryon NC bullentin)
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Inflammatory Breast Cancer
How Someone Discovered they had Paget's Disease
Ozdes Bodur's Story ( from Turkey)
Catherine's Mom, another Victim...
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Thank You to those that contributed to this symptoms page !!!!

My chest/lung mets showed their little lovely selves by difficutly breathing. All of a sudden, it seemed. One day I was fine, the next I wasn't. I'm sure that it wasn't quite like that, I hadn't had my dx yet, but it seems like it. One day I was fine to walk my son down the hill to school & back up to work; the next day, it took us much longer & I was pulling for air to walk back up the same hill I'd walked daily for 2 yrs. At the same time, I would get out of the shower in the morning & have to go lay down on my bed for awhile before I could even think of getting dressed. At first I chalked it up to allergies, it was spring & those damn cherry blossoms were every where, but the cherry blossoms left & I wasn't getting any better. When I finally took my sorry ass into the doctor (for that & numerous other wierd stuff that was happening to me & I was blaming stress for), I not only found out I had mets, but I had several mets nodes in my lungs & effusions around both lungs & my heart. One lung is totally clear now, but the other & the heart still have abit of fluid around them. The nodes are gone (one good thing about chemo). I now find that colds tend to settle immediately in my chest. They never did before. My onc & my GP have told me to call ASAP when I catch a cold so they can put me on steriods & sometimes antibiotics. At New Years I didn't. It was a holiday, I was going to wait until after & call, the cold wasn't that bad. I coughed so hard that I popped a hole in my lung. I started to have trouble breathing again & went in to see the onc. Fortunately, it healed very quickly. My dr's told me after the fact, that the now gone nodes have left weak/thin spots that are vulnerable to pressure & hence, collapse. Aviod colds & people who have colds. My ass! I've got a teenager with lots of friends (our house is always full of kids & it will be that way until I die), every bug known to man passes through my house & no amount of hand washing will keep it all away. Like I'm not going to hug my kid on a regular basis or get down & personal with any kid who has just hurt themselves outside my front steps. We even had whooping cough last spring & we both had up-to-date shots! OK, off my rant. I don't have many syptoms now, aside from the chest colds & if it is windy, I have to wrap a scarf around my mouth to block the excess air. If I don't, I can't breath at all. Still Tilting at Windmills, Tavi ************************************************************************************************************************** I had a dry occasional cough in August of 2005 and told my surgeon about it and she had a chest x-ray done and nothing showed up. Then in November I went for my reconstruction surgery and the blood test showed my cancer markers up 3 points and that I was anemic. Had a CT scan done and I had about 20 tumors on each lung about the size of a grain of rice. Took Xeloda for 3 threatments and it had 0 effect on the lung cancer. went Feburary 14th for a CT scan and the tumors were about the size of a bean. Started Cisplatin and Gemzar on the 3/4/2006 will have 3 treatments before another CT Scan is done. Lorie

Since 1997 my PC has also said passed off my symptoms as "alittle asthma" and "alittle arthritis to sternum". 2005 confirmed the little asthma and arthritis was lung and sternum cancer. HERBALIST & EXERCISE WORKED BEST in 1997 for me(in combination with conventional treatment)..Veins on my chest began to enlarge and seemed to be closer to the skin surface. A subtle blackening bruising/discoloration occurred in the chest area the past two years. 2004 - 2005 had 5 respiratory infections, 3 bouts with pneumonia, Sinus infection lasting two years. Horrendous fatigue sleeping up to 20 hours per day. Horrendous chest pain with breathing problesm resulting in ER visits during storms/hurricanes. Swelling in right hand/arm. Swelling in ankles.Thinking the breathing problems were related to allergens or black mold or something in our house we've done the following (wasted) work: RADAN testing (Our house is elevated.. we moved in 1996.. I had cancer 1997) Installation of UV light and 6" thick media duct air filter Clean & rework Duct system Commercial Environmental Analysis of Air Quality (this person normally does hospitals, etc. it was QUITE expensive) Free standing air cleaners Air Dehumidifier (summer) Air humidifier (winter) Use paints with low VOC In the past 8 years there has been much more.. I had the two episodes when high levels of stress occurred at work. Related ?? Who knows..
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Hi Susan I see you are interested in finding symptond for secondaries,hope this personal information may be of interest? How did I find out I had secondaries-after 2 mastecomies 1998 and 2001 I thought I was home and dry,then last October 2004, I had a reoccurrance, in some remaining breast tissue,2 ops and some radfium sorted it---I thought. In May,I had a cough,after a cold,that would not go away.the cough was only at night,when I lay down. I bought some "Night nurse"linctus and it seemed to help!!! But,It persisted,went back to the GP,who said these coughs often hang around Then it was my 3 monthly visit to my surgeon who gave me an x-ray, in August-but I heard no more.-presumed it was all OK.In Septrember I noticed it was making me breathless to go upstairs or hills so rang my onc. The best thing to do is always tell your onc if you think anything is different-only you know your own body well Had lots of tests which showed the cancer had spread to my lungs.also there are mets on my bones too.was diagnosed in November. At present they are mainly concerned with the lungs. Fuchsia


From: Shahna Rice
Date: Sun Jan 01 2006
Hi Susan I was actually diagnosed with mets Jan of this past year 2005, Jan 3rd to be exact was day given dx but had been having pain and problems since July/August of 2004. Started with shoulder and mild backpains mainly right side initially (side my mastectomy had been on - they never really got super clear margins I think that was the problem found a second lump they did not know was there when they went to do the surgery vrey close to the chest wall). Then in October got a nagging cough would not go away as well as my back actually snapped when I bent over suddenly and I could not straighten for several days was on major pain killers thought it was a slipped disc or something. Then same thing happened to my neck a month later still having shoulder and lower back pain extreme sometimes and cough still there. Told post-viral cough as I had had a cold in Sept. Still had cough in December now SOB going up/down stairs and fever mild at night - did chest x-rays pneumonia or fluid build up so due to past history lined me up for bone and CT scan all bad and all down hill from there. Cancer everywhere I am sure it was already getting well established in my bones in July/August when I first started having shoulder and back pain that they told me was arthritis probably and put me on a NSAID for it. I honestly feel I was very misdiagnosed and ignored essentially called my onc who said she did not need to see me until Dec - every 6 months with her you know and no sooner told me to see my family doc as it could be arthritis getting worse - mind you they never confirmed it was arthritis just assumed it was which seems strange now since it was in my shoulder blade and back but never know I guess. Mine moved quickly to my lungs and liver though;so right now am just glad to still be here despite my bout of depression;earlier this week as it was wide wide spread not a single bone where it was not pretty much and my lungs and liver were riddled with lesions everywhere and fluid around the lungs too. Getting up a set of stairs would take me 15 minutes or more. Could not sleep more then a few hours every night due to pain would just sit up in a chair and stare at the night sky was on morpheine, oxycontoin, tylenol with codeine, advil you name it I was taking it did not touch the pain so I guess I am fairly lucky at present as right now I am only on Advil mainly and some days T3's but mentally right now pretty shaky. Not sure this helps at all but;if you have any questions on my symptoms let me know as I went a long time not diagnosed when I am sure it was back possibly even a year before they diagnosed it, Shahna

(from the BCMets.org archives and edited down a bit. Some of these people may have passed on so please don't pay much attention to the dates for survival time reference)

My wife's breast cancer spread to the lungs and caused pleural effusion on one side. She experienced shortness of breath and a terrible cough which is very uncomfortable. The oncologist has prescribed Lortab which stops the cough and enables her to sleep. Jeff

My partner Sara was diagnosed with lungs mets in March 1997. She had actually had symptoms since Aug 1996. Sara has had a pleural effusion on the right side since 2002, but she has only had to have it drained two or three times. In 1997 Sara didn't work for a few months as she was gravely ill and it looked like she was going to die that year. When they did her lung biopsy (March 1997), she was down to 1/3 of her lung capacity and then one lung collapsed, so she was on a respirator and then on 24 hour a day oxygen. They didn't give us much hope, but her disease was chemo-virgin and the CA kicked butt. Kathy

My breathing got quite a lot worse due to inflammation, but increase in Prednisone seems to have helped that.-unknown

Chest x-rays can only find tumors beyond a certain size, but is commonly used to monitor known disease--though not so good at screening for lung cancer, as we know. CT does use higher radiation doses. PET is certainly a possibility but very costly. PET is the most sensitive imaging technology, and can find tumors .5 cm, while a chest x-ray would probably be the least, with CT in the middle. -the goal is to be able to assess whether treatment is working in the absence of symptoms. I don't see what harm there would be in getting a baseline chest x-ray and seeing if the cancer shows up clearly in it.
In general, biopsies of metastatic sites are being done less these days, as imaging gets better. A lot of the time presumptive response to treatment tells the story. Musa

Information on pleurodesis.
From an appt. with a thoracic surgeon. The surgeon, at Duke, took one look at her Xray and scheduled the surgery for Thursday. He assumed that we both had medical degrees, and a full knowledge of hospital acronyms. After a rapid fire description of the options, I finally brought him to less than hypersonic speed when I asked him to do a "flow chart" of the options. That appealed to his state of mind and helped us to understand what he was saying.
A little background. Either because of the Rads or chemo during treatment of the primary BC, or the lung mets, or both, the lymph system in the lung cavity cannot drain the fluid that naturally builds up around the lungs. Since it does not drain, the lung is compressed which impacts Janet's ability to catch her breath and climb stairs etc. In Janet's case down to probably about 20% in that lung. Further, since an air bubble formed in the in the cavity as a result of the last attempt to drain the fluid (pneumothorax) the situation is more dangerous and will prevent Janet from flying. We are hoping to go to Finland this summer. We are fighting very hard not to have our lives become totally defined by the diagnosis of metastatic BC.
Pleurodesis is the process of removing the fluid from the pleura and getting the lungs to stick to the pleural wall so that there is no space for fluid to accumulate.
Two arms of the flow chart.
Arm one- the easy way. (Thorascopic Talc pleurodesis.) With a small hole in the chest wall through which the surgeon passes a drain and then a video camera, he drains the fluid (about 2 liters). With a little suction he attempts to expand the lungs. If the lung expand, he then injects a slurry of talc into the pleural cavity to cause the lung to attach to the pleural wall. The talc serves as a foreign body and the irritant causes the lung to adhere to the chest wall. Actually, the two layers of pleura -- one around the lung and the other lining the chest wall.
Arm two- the harder way. (Pleurectomy --Pleurx to abbreviation dependent.) If the lung does not expand, they insert a drain and for the next 10-30 day drain the fluid drains until is more-or-less fluid free. Given time, the lung will hopefully expand fully, and the scar tissue that has formed will create the adhesions between the lung and the chest wall. hospital 2-4 days- Tom and Janet

I have presumed lung scarring from my first chemo. Although I had multiple lung mets, I had no symptoms until after about 3 chemo cycle, when I started getting an uncomfortable, burning sensation a lot of the time. It persisted after chemo and through 2.5 years of hormonals, but worsened almost a year ago. I'm now on Azmacort (an inhaler) and it helps symptoms a lot. Judith


PLEURAL EFFUSIONS CAUSE SOB (SHORTNESS OF BREATH) , DRY COUGH WHICH USUALLY IS WORSE WHEN TALKING, SOMETIMES WHEEZING. THE ONLY WAY TO GET RID OF THE SYMPTOMS IS BY REMOVING THE FLUID IN A SIMPLE PROCEDURE USUALLY PERFORMED BY A RADIOLOGIST WHO PERFORMS THIS WHILE LOOKING AT THE AREA THROUGH A RADIOSCOPE. I'VE BEEN GOING THROUGH THIS FOR TWO YRS. NANCY

The lung mets at first left me a little out of breath when I walked or climbed stairs, etc. I kept telling myself "I'm out of shape", but it was really the mets. Melody

Both left and right plural effusions as well as hilar fluid were shown in a Jan. 2004 PET/CT scan. My onc just had an ECHO done of my heart - nothing about the plural effusions. I thought the way I felt was because of my treatment. The SOB made it so difficult to do anything but sit around and fairly quickly I got to fearing I wouldn't get up after I went to bed so I made a trip to the ER. I also got tired enough that I wasn't taking good care of myself with food, ect. I got the full bunch of scans to rule out things like blood clots and pneumonia (I later read on my chart that there may have been some pneumonia but that is not what I was told and may have been something added for insurance?). I was admitted to the hospital and given breathing treatment and oxygen and antibiotics and my usual meds and potassium and lasix. I had my plural effusion drained the next day. They obtained slightly over 1 liter of fluid from the right plural effusion. I have never had any draining done on my left side. It was amazing and I felt so much better being able to breath. Within a couple of months I could tell it was back. The SOB just makes you want to sit around and wears you out. It really isn't painful. So this time I had it drained in the pulmonary doctor's office. He got another liter. Both of these fluid collections were tested for cancer and both did not have any. I suspected they were a side effect of the treatment I had been taking for 7 months and had just stopped due to awesome tumor markers and good scans. My onc scheduled another PET/CT scan in August. It showed a large right plural effusion. I went to have it drained. I really did NOT have any SOB symptoms. This time they only drained 1/2 liter. I never really coughed. Only when I got up to a liter did I have symptoms. From what I understand sometimes plural effusions can go away by themselves. I think the lining should be drained when the SOB is compromising your qualify of life. It is an easy office procedure with minimal risk (10% risk of lung collapse which would then require a night in the hospital to reinflate. You might notice some discomfort at the end of the draining and for a day or so while your lung gets used to having its full capacity again. Beth

It was pain that led me to the doctors for tests, and it took some months before a CT scan and then ct-guided needle lung biopsy showed the metastases. I still have pain, and I am wondering if it's partially due to some fluid problems, like maybe a lymph node or channel blocked that causes everything to feel bound up, stiff, and hurt inside. I have read that although 20-30% of breast cancer patients are treated for lung mets, when they've done autopsies on breast cancer patients, 60-70% had them. I had no symptoms until this, and really felt I might be one of the ones who was "cured". Barb

I was dx with plueral effusion along with mets to lungs.I was having a lot of discomfort from it. They said that mine was to little to drain. So, I started on my chemo and had relief quickly. I was having pain between the breast bones, slight cough and SOB. My CT scan in april showed all effusion was gone. Judie

You already realize that the single lung nodule could either be metastatic breast cancer or a primary lung cancer. While a PET scan will be helpful, as a baseline, and to see if there are other sites of disease, it can't discriminate lung from breast cancer--but if it's a benign nodule, it may be an indication of that. One approach, short of surgical biopsy, which can be pretty difficult,depending on location, would be to treat the breast cancer, and see if the nodule changes in size, but the doctor may feel it's important to find out what it is. Often lung cancer patients are treated without biopsy these days. Musa

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