Newly Diagnosed NSCLC Adenocarcinoma - 1248211

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Newly Diagnosed NSCLC Adenocarcinoma - 1248211

My mother (48) was just diagnosed last Tuesday (9/11/12) with non small cell lung cancer/adenocarcinoma. The tumor found on the upper lobe of her right lung was found within the last 12 months but was small in size so she has been having x-rays done every couple of months to check for change. Until this last one, the week before the 11th, there was no change. Now it has grown. She has had a biopsy done on Monday, shortly after which her lung collapsed. The biopsy came back malignant. She then had a CT scan and PET scan to check for other cancer. The PET scan came back clear, the place on her lung was all the cancer.

Her primary care dr/the one who has done all of this work is sending her to a thoracic surgeon at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and he is planning to do a robotic surgery. She has an appointment with him tomorrow. At this point we have not heard anything as far as staging goes and are hoping to learn that tomorrow. It seems since they are wanting to go ahead and remove the upper lobe of her right lung that it is an early stage, but that's just my opinion, idk.

Anyway, I have several friends who work at MD Anderson and really feel like that's where she should be. I've convinced her to go ahead and make an appt at MDA in case she isn't comfortable after this appt tomorrow. She and I are just concerned that coming to MDA and possibly having to take all the same tests again will delay surgery and we want to get it done before it can spread. Does anyone have any idea or advice as to whether or not it would be beneficial to get a second opinion at MDA and if it would be beneficial or a waste of time if she decided to use the original dr/thoracic surgeon? I just feel like we're in a time crunch but really want her to have the best care possible. Also, has anyone had any experiences with the robotic surgery for this type of cancer?

This has really caught us all off guard and we have so much to learn any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Reply To: Newly Diagnosed NSCLC Adenocarcinoma

Hello texasjstar, I'm so sorry your young mom is going through this. I can only imagine the anxiety it is causing her and you. We can't offer advice but will try to help you understand better some of the choices she has.

Your right to think twice about getting it right. One thing I can point out is she shouldn't need to redo tests when getting a second opinion but take them along or forward them to the center. However the person doing the second opinion may want additional workup.

When you speak of the robot surgery are you speaking of VATs? If so, yes many surgeons use it for smaller surgeries though I can't speak to the data that may exist showing its pros and cons (except to say the recovery from a vats is much easier than that of an open thoracotomy).

Below are 3 very good blog/posts. The first discussses treatment delays, the second second opinions, and the 3rd sublobar resections.’s-guide-to-the-second-opinion/

I hope this helps and please don't hesitate to ask more detailed questions as they arise.

forum moderator

Reply To: Newly Diagnosed NSCLC Adenocarcinoma

Thank you! The articles you sent were fabulous!

Dr West
Reply To: Newly Diagnosed NSCLC Adenocarcinoma

It's definitely important to see a well-trained thoracic surgeon to do a lung cancer surgery, since there's a very significant probability of a gap in quality of surgery if someone who is a general surgeon or cardiothoracic surgeon who does more heart than lung surgery. But UT-Southwestern is a very good center, particularly strong in lung cancer, so I would say that this concern about surgery quality isn't likely to be a problem there. MD Anderson is a terrific cancer center, but it's not the only cancer center, and they don't have a monopoly on good people. There are terrific people at many centers, and there are some pretty uninspiring ones even at the best centers.

If you're not comfortable with the UT-Southwestern surgeon, I think it'd be perfectly great to look at MD Anderson, as long as it can be done within a couple of weeks. But if you like the Dallas surgeon, I think it's wrong to feel that it's a poor choice.

-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: Newly Diagnosed NSCLC Adenocarcinoma

texasjstar, I wanted to welcome you to GRACE, even though I'm sorry it is under these circumstances. When I was 49, I was diagnosed with a stage 1A adeno in my left lung and underwent the VATS surgery. If there is anything I can help you with, please don't hesitate to ask me. You and your family will be in my thoughts.

Reply To: Newly Diagnosed NSCLC Adenocarcinoma

Sherry, it's good to have you back. :)

Reply To: Newly Diagnosed NSCLC Adenocarcinoma


I am sorry you had a need to find GRACE but welcome you just the same. This is a great place for info and support. Best wishes to your mom and all of you as you make your decisions.