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Lung diseases

Is This Cancer?

03/30/2010

Question:

Dear doctor

My dad has had pneumonia & blood clots on his lungs.during a recent examination, he was told that he has a mass on his lungs, which could be cancer, but my dad who is 86 & never smoked, is refusing any more tests or treatment. We are obviously very worried as unless he has the tests, we dont know for sure & dont know what to do for him. Could this mass just be the pneumonia or should we assume its cancer? If so how long do we have? we just dont know anything.

Answer:

It could be pneumonia.  It can be hard to tell between pneumonia and a mass.  At the very least, he should have a follow-up CT to see if it goes away.

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Response by:

Sandra L Starnes, MD Sandra L Starnes, MD
Assistant Professor of Surgery
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati