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Pleural Effusion-Help Please

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mainsailset View Drop Down
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    Posted: Feb 17 2010 at 11:20pm
Has anyone been dx'd with a pleural effusion and could you give an idea of what your experience was with it? It's my understanding that it can be a precursor to metastases.
dx 7/08 TN 14x6.5x5.5 cm tumor

3 Lymph nodes involved, Taxol/Sunitab+AC, 5/09 dbl masectomy, path 2mm tumor removed, lymphs all clear, RAD 32 finished 9/11/09. 9/28 CT clear 10/18/10 CT clear
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dmwolf View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dmwolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 17 2010 at 11:59pm
I've never had one, but I did look up some information on PE a while back.  There are two kinds, exudate and transudate.  The transudate version is when there is some systemic problem that causes the rate of production of fluid in the space between pleural sheets to exceed the rate of absorption.  Causes of this type include congestive heart failure, some pancreatic problems, and I think pneumonia (or is that the other kind?).  Exudate is when there is a local cause of fluid accumulation, for example cancer cells or lymph blockage.   A test to tell the difference involves draining a small amount of fluid from the effusion and checking it for protein content among other things.  High content implies exudate, low transudate.  They also look for abnormal cells.  Most pleural effusions are due to pneumonia and congestive heart failure.  The next most common cause is cancer, usually either lung or breast.  Symptoms can vary, from breathlessness and a dry cough to nothing to speak of.  I remember that Brenda F had one for a while.  Another member just posted with a PE in her signature, in the mets forum.  Maybe she'll respond soon.  Treatment for a one-time pleural effusion is draining it.  For repeat ones, they can do something called pleurodesis, where they put talc or bleomycin in the pleural space.  This causes scarring, so the two membranes stick together and there is no space for fluid to accumulate.

I hope that helps.  Hopefully someone with more direct experience will respond soon.

Love,
Denise
DX 2/08@43 stg II IDC; gr2,0 nodes. Neoadj chemo, first ACx2 (fail) then CarboTaxotereX6(better). Lump, Rads done 11/08; Clodronate. False alarm queen: PetCT lung & TM marker. NED. PBM w/recon 9/10.
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alexzack View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote alexzack Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 18 2010 at 12:26am
I have a pleural effusion now. Mine is due, we believe to cancer mets.  On the ct scan they said it was a small one, (even though it looked like a third of my lung to me) They said they will keep an eye on it and if it gets too bad they could drain it or as Denise replied there are a few other options as well.  I had an xray last week and they said they thought it was going down a little from 2 weeks prior. It hurts to lay on that side. I don't have too many other pains except it is a little hard to breathe and I feel a tightness in my chest, as if there is pressure.  I've only had this diagnosis for about 3 weeks now so I'll keep you posted. 
diag. 6/06, Stage 1, Mastectomy, Chemo. Loc. Rec. 2/08 and 12/08, Mets to Bones, Liver, Mediastinal, Lungs and Pleural Effusion to Left Lung 12/09. BRCA1 pos.
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