Cancer on the Weekend: Personal Part 2

By | July 24, 2012

When helping patient’s find cancer treatment, who’s the doctor gonna call? GHOSTBUSTERS!
















If the treatment of cancer is a personal matter, Nancy’s case was even more so because I found her cancer. I had been taking care of Nancy for a number of years for low back and neck problems. About a year and a half ago, when we could no longer control her neck and bilateral arm pain with intermittent injections, I sent Nancy to a neurosurgeon, Mark Liker, who performed a successful three level cervical laminectomy with complete relief of her pain. Unfortunately the pain began to return about 6 months ago. Considering the unilateral distribution of the pain and the timing of its recurrence, I suspected a post-laminectomy syndrome, but was not sure, so before beginning treatment, I told Nancy that we should get a new MRI. To our complete surprise, in the lower left corner of one of the coronal images we saw a small tumor arising from the apex of the left upper lobe of her lung, which was growing along the course of the brachial plexus and invading the spine at both C7 and T1. I immediately called Nancy’s primary care physician to arrange for authorizations for consultation with both a medical oncologist and a radiation oncologist. This here is just the beginning of what will turn out to be a long journey.

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