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Lung Cancer

Malignant Pleural Effusion

02/24/2011

Question:

My sister was diagnosed 2 yrs ago - Stage IV - lung cancer - she had brain and bone mets - radiating small lesion in brain and stable - has had 3 rounds of chemo and some radiation to lung - takes Tarsiva but now has fluid filling her lungs which was biopsied and has malignant cells - they are going to insert talc and I understand this procedure but I need to know if this means we are nearing the end stage of her disease. She is 42 yo non smoker who was diagnosed b.c of back pain - no other symptoms.

Answer:

Thanks you for your question. Certainly, more advanced stages of lung cancer carry a poorer prognosis but there are several factors to consider including performance status, co morbid illnesses and type of tumor. A malignant effusion can be managed by several methods including talc pleurdesis or a small indwelling catheter. These procedures can offer relief of shortness of breath but do not necessarily have an implication in the prognosis. I would suggest that you discuss further with your physician.

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Response by:

Patrick  Nana-Sinkam, MD Patrick Nana-Sinkam, MD
Associate Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University