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Offline OldMan

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Tumours
« on: 23/09/2004 04:37:45 »
Ok I have some slight likely misguided theories but can't hold off my curiousity any longer.

What is the likely results of tumours in the lung and the spine on the body as they grow? Paralysis below the point of the tumour on the spine perhaps? Lung collapse or filling with fluid? I don't know but would like to know.

Thanks

Tim


 

Offline Ylide

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Re: Tumours
« Reply #1 on: 23/09/2004 07:45:06 »
As far as I know, lung cancer itself doesn't directly cause death but it very readily metastasizes to the brain and/or liver where tumors have a much more detrimental effect.  Certain types of lung cancer (mesothelioma for instance) might cause lung function to cease but I'm not 100% on that.  



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Offline DrN

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Re: Tumours
« Reply #2 on: 25/09/2004 16:58:43 »
well, the actual tumours themselves do not kill you, but even benign tumours can have pretty severe effects, depending on where they are. they can cause bowel obstruction, crush lymph nodes, and basically affect organ function. of course tumours in the brain will have very noticable results, and lung tumours would affect breathing. I'm not sure, but i would guess the cancer would have metastasised and probably killed you through numerous different ways before 100% of lung function was destroyed.

cancer kills generally by consuming your nutrients, and causing organ malfunction. the cancer cells are unspecialised, so cannot perform the function of the tissue they reside in, which contributes to organ failure. of course the more nutrients you consume the more nutrients the tumour will take, many patients eat less, but this in itself can eventually cause death through wasting. cancer will always eventually kill the patient if left untreated.

its not all doom and gloom - many cancers are very treatable nowadays.
 

Offline bezoar

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Re: Tumours
« Reply #3 on: 08/10/2004 01:23:29 »
Lung tumors will tend to draw fluid in the lungs.  Also, the pleura of the lungs is exquisitly sensitive to pain so tumors on the pleura can be very painful.  Spine tumors are also painful.  They can impinge on the spinal nerve, or cause pathological fractures.  The paralysis comes a little further down the road, after the pain has had a good head start.
 

Offline OldMan

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Re: Tumours
« Reply #4 on: 08/10/2004 04:22:07 »
Would a tumor in the spine be likely to be the cause of muscle spams in the back. I almost got the impression that it wasn't from what I was told.

Tim
 

Offline OldMan

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Re: Tumours
« Reply #5 on: 08/10/2004 04:23:28 »
mind you that could have just been a poor relay of information. Not sure
 

Offline bezoar

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Re: Tumours
« Reply #6 on: 10/10/2004 00:54:24 »
I would suppose that anything that impinges upon the nerve could conceivably cause muscle spasms, however, more often you would get excruciating, often radiating pain.  People usually describe nerve pain as a very sharp pain, or like an electric shock, and this is more the type of pain I've generally seen with  my patients with spinal tumors.  It's really a debilitating type of pain.
 

Offline OldMan

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Re: Tumours
« Reply #7 on: 11/10/2004 03:53:59 »
I've no doubt the pain was very bad as all my dad can do most of the time is sit reclined in a chair, any movements which are too quick will set off the back spasms but I believe they were almost constant when they first started up.

He had a CAT scan which they said didn't show up anything new that would be causing it but if the problem did continue they would do an MRI to see what else they could find out.

Tim
 

Offline chris

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Re: Tumours
« Reply #8 on: 11/10/2004 09:04:07 »
Hi Tim,

Send your dad my best.

When healthy people 'put their backs out' the agonising pain they are describing is usually muscle spasm, rather than a physical or structural problem. It responds well to muscle relaxants - like diazepam - and simple analgesics (like aspirin or diclofenac (voltarol)).

But with cancer pain the situation is much more complicated because it could reflect a number of things. The cancer might have spread to the vertebrae (the backbone) weakening the bones and causing them to collapse on themselves. Because this is very painful it can trigger reflex muscle spasms as the body tries to compensate for the collapse. Bony changes like this can also lead to 'pinching' of spinal nerves where they leave the cord (the so-called spinal roots) which is analogous to what happens when someone 'slips a disc'.

Kidney tumours are notorious for spreading (metastasising) to bones, alongside breast, lung, thyroid and prostate cancers, as I think I mentioned before. These tumour deposits tend to be lytic (they just erode bone) rather than sclerotic (calcifying) and hence they don't show up on scans terribly well until they are quite advanced. However, if you do spot a culprit lesion on a scan then radiotherapy can often be used to zap it, providing the patient with considerable relief.

One other thing to bear in mind is that cancers are runaway cells which have your entire genetic arsenal at their disposal. They can make any substance that any cell in your body can make, and they can make it when they whenever they like. The usual controls that would stop a cell producing say 'insulin' (I'm just using this as an example) are often ignored by cancers - they do anything they want. Thus some tumours make bone-eroding hormones (like PTH) which they secrete into the blood stream and affect bones all over the body, not just around the tumour. This is called a paraneoplastic effect.

The priorities in these situations are dignity, comfort and quality of life, rather than quantity. It sounds as though you have been doing a sterling job.

Chris


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Offline Ylide

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Re: Tumours
« Reply #9 on: 11/10/2004 21:57:13 »
I heard that recent research showed that doxycycline was able to completely halt cancer development in mice with liver cancer.  Apparently it inhibits expression of the Myc gene which is a factor in cell division.  It basically puts the cancer into remission for as long as you're on the drug, then it resumes quickly when you stop.

What would be the long term effects of staying on a powerful antibiotic like that for extended periods of time, aside from the obvious antibiotic resistance that your enterics would be able to spread to invaders?

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Offline OldMan

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Re: Tumours
« Reply #10 on: 12/10/2004 04:30:37 »
Hi Chris,

Thanks for the reply and well wishes, and everyone else who has replied for that matter.

Radiotherapy certainly did help ease the pain my dad was suffering in his hip fairly quickly when he had that one treated. However, the spinals tumor almost seemed to get worse as he had the treatment, although I believe this may just be part of the natural progression from what you have said combined with the effects of treatment. They  targeted quite a large area while treating the spine which included the stomach and consequently gave him terrible nausea and vomitting despite the anti-emetics.
I believe he was also given valium for the back spasms which helped a little.

Yes, the focus is definately the quality of life, especially now as his doctor has told him to start looking for alternative treatments, specifically whole body ones such as immunotherapy rather than treatments that target one particular area.

Now I think of it I would be curious to know if they recent scans showed the tumor in his hip to have shrunk/stopped growing after the radio as it didn't with the one in his sternum. Must remember to ask tomorrow when I see him.

The doxycycline certainly sounds interesting but it does make you wonder what the long term effects would be.

Thanks

Tim
 

Offline Ylide

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Re: Tumours
« Reply #11 on: 13/10/2004 08:01:10 »
With some further research, they might be able to figure out what exactly about doxycycline makes it halt expression of Myc and synthesize something that doesn't have the antibiotic properties but retains the gene repressing ability.



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Offline bezoar

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Re: Tumours
« Reply #12 on: 15/10/2004 00:33:23 »
If it's a compression fracture of the spine, there is a great new technique where they insert a balloon in the collapsed vertebra, fill it with bone cement, and voila, fixed.  Can be done under a local, with instant pain relief.  Learned about it recently at an Oncology Nurses Meeting.
 

Offline chris

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Re: Tumours
« Reply #13 on: 15/10/2004 18:20:07 »
That's intriguing Nancy, I'd not heard of that. What's is called ?

Chris

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Offline bezoar

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Re: Tumours
« Reply #14 on: 16/10/2004 02:36:36 »
It's called Balloons for Bones, and the company that makes the product is called Kyphon.  They have a web site: www.BalloonsForBones.com  I thought it was an awesome procedure.  Very simple and immediate results.  The neurosurgeon who's pioneering it in our city said he was able to operate on patients in nursing homes who had been there for years due to intractable pain, and they were able to go home again.
« Last Edit: 16/10/2004 02:37:19 by bezoar »
 

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Re: Tumours
« Reply #14 on: 16/10/2004 02:36:36 »

 

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