pericardial effusions - 1248346

6 posts / 0 new
Last post
laya d.
pericardial effusions - 1248346

Do systemic treatments, such as Tarceva, help dry out mild pericardial effusions (or is that once the effusion is there, you can't get rid of it unless you drain it)?

Thanks,
Laya

marisa93
Reply To: pericardial effusions

Hi Laya,

I just talked to Jim(who is on the road at the moment)and he says that generally, if they are mild and not causing symtoms they are not drained and can be cleared with systemic treatment. I know he has personal experience with this from Liz. And of course, what he has learned from this site and the good Drs here:) He will be along to add more in awhile. Best wishes to you and your mom.

Lisa

laya d.
Reply To: pericardial effusions

Thanks Lisa. . .I had my cousin who is a radiologist look at the scan tonight, and she was very surprised that in the report they had said the effusion was "mild." She said that at best, it's "trace" and that she is not even worried about it in the slightest right now. She said that it may not even be malignant - - just "reactive." Anyway, thanks for the response and looking forward to further feedback.

xoxo,
Laya

JimC
Reply To: pericardial effusions

Hi Laya,

Dr. West wrote generally about pericardial effusions here: http://cancergrace.org/forums/index.php?topic=798.msg4182#msg4182

And as Lisa said, such effusions do not need to be drained unless they are causing symptoms. My wife had a mild pericardial effusion at diagnosis, which disappeared after her first-line treatment, and it appeared in a couple of later scans, again disappearing after treatment. Much later she developed an effusion that did cause tamponade, but that effusion did not reappear after the fluid was drained.

Hope your Mom's effusion resolves without a problem.

JimC
Forum moderator

<p>I began visiting GRACE in July, 2008 when my wife Liz was diagnosed with lung cancer, and became a forum moderator in January, 2010. My beloved wife of 30 years passed away Nov. 4, 2011 after battling stage IV lung cancer for 3 years and 4 months</p>

Dr West
Reply To: pericardial effusions

I don't really have much to add, except to say that trace or mild pericardial effusions are quite common and non-specific (so "reactive" could well be a reason for it). If large enough to compromise the heart's function and cause symptoms, it needs to be drained, but otherwise, if it is directly related to the underlying cancer but not large, it can respond to effective systemic treatment, like a pleural effusion often does.

-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

cards7up
Reply To: pericardial effusions