Man, 48 years old, lung cancer
Most probably I was a hard nut to crack for pulmonologists, as they could not discover what is wrong with me quite for long. Before I fell ill I had been inhaling various things. When working in construction I did not always use a face mask and I took regular smoke breaks. Yes, I did smoke a lot. I know it is not the best thing one could give to his lungs, but when you are healthy you do not usually think about many things... When I caught cold in autumn 3 years ago and was coughing up blood, I was truly scared.
I went to my family doctor and she sent me for a chest x-ray. It showed changes and I was prescribed some antibiotics. After a10-day course of antibiotics I had a repeated x-ray examination, but it still showed changes. The doctor sent me to have a computed tomography of the lungs which also showed, citing the medical record: a significant inflammation in the left lung. This was the first indication of possible malignant changes. At that moment, the word "changes" started to give me shivers…
I was hospitalised for further examinations; the doctors thought that it might be either tuberculosis or bronchitis, or… cancer. Tuberculosis was soon discarded. To establish the cause of my condition, I underwent multiple examinations. I spent almost a month in the hospital and had 3 bronchoscopies with biopsy both under general and also local anaesthesia, and had scraps taken from my lungs. Nothing malignant was found. The surgical consilium decided to dismiss me from the hospital, observe me for another six months and undergo a repeated examination in order to decide on the necessity of lung surgery. In summer, I underwent a repeated examination and bronchoscopy and nothing was found. The doctors decided to observe me for another 6 months.
Last autumn I caught cold and was hospitalised. I underwent video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery and the doctors took another 2 samples of my lung cells. They found cancer cells in the samples. The doctors are of the opinion that the affected lung should be removed, but before taking such a serious surgical operation they have to know the precise location of the cancer and check existence of any metastases. So, I ended up taking a PET/CT examination. If compared to all previous procedures this was a thrill – no lying in a hospital, no narcosis, without any pain, fast… The PET/CT scan gave a precise answer as to where what is. Now I have to wait for the doctors to come up with their ultimate decision. Probably I had to undergo a PET/CT examination a lot earlier, along with the first suspicion about malignant changes. But that cannot be changed now…"
Probably I had to undergo a PET/CT scan much earlier, along with the first suspicion about malignant changes. But that cannot be changed now.
Comment of a radiologist-diagnostician
"The patient was sent to PET/CT examination to determine the spread of the lung cancer and to decide on the scope of lung surgery needed. The patient had a whole-body PET/CT examination using 18F-FDG. During the imaging, we found three FDG pathologic hypermetabolic focal points – two in the lungs; as well as tiny metastasis in the root of the lung that was not yet visualised during other examinations. Other formations in the lungs diagnosed during previous examinations (CT, MRI) did not accumulate FDG, thus they are not malignant.