1.4 cm tumor Too Small to Biopsy? - 1243701

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1.4 cm tumor Too Small to Biopsy? - 1243701

My sister told me today that she has a small tumor discovered on her right lung about 7 years ago.  At that time it was 1 cm and the Dr. just said they would "watch" it.  A CT scan last week showed that it has grown to 1.4 cm - which isn't particularly distressing; however, she said the Dr. told her that it was not likely that they would be able to get enough of a sample with a biopsy to make it worth pursuing.  She is currently on a 6 mo f/u for CT; and if it progresses, PET.  While I realize that this is a small tumor and, if metatastic, would represent early stage disease, isn't it something that should be checked on more closely in order to address treatments that would have more chance of a cure?  She is 65 and a former smoker.

Our brother just underwent right  lobectomy a few weeks ago and he is not being followed with chemo because he is 73 and has a poor performance status due to other health issues...copd, emphysema, etc.  heavy smoker - still...


I've never seen so much cancer around me as this past year -- 2 sisters, brother, husband, friend....nasty disease!


Dr West
Reply To: 1.4 cm tumor Too Small to Biopsy?

In general, we favor obtaining a biopsy on a growing lesion, though a few mm over 7 years is extremely slow -- slow enough to beg the question of whether, even if it's technically cancer by a biopsy, will it grow to a point of being a threat over the next 30 years?

I think rescanning in something in the range of 6 months sounds reasonable, but in most cases, it's very possible to get a decent, diagnostic biopsy of a 1.4 cm lung lesion. Perhaps there's something about the location, but 1.4 cm is large enough that it's often very feasible for a biopsy.

-Dr. West

Dr. Howard (Jack) West
Associate Clinical Professor
Medical Oncology
City of Hope Cancer Center
Duarte, CA

Founder & President
Global Resource for Advancing
Cancer Education

Reply To: 1.4 cm tumor Too Small to Biopsy?

Thanks Dr. West.