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Diagnosed with head and neck cancer from PET scan. Tube fed completely and having diarrhoea. Need a second opinion?

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Practicing since : 2004
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My husband is now in a rehab to try to ween him of the respirator and build up his muscle tone. he has not eaten or drank anything by mouth in three months or more. The doctor here at the new facility has given a second opinion about his new cancer report based on the report that was given to the old facility pet scan. He said he had a severe case of antibiotic for a infection which he did not complete due to a medical interruption and never put back on. His last feeding was 9 pm the previous night of the pet scan. The morning of the scan he had severe diarrhea so did not have a feeding and was unable to eat due to testing. His blood sugar was 56 he is a diabetic. They decided to do the scan anyway and claim the level went to 71 in the room. Immediately upon getting in the car going home I tested his level and it was now 56. I feel the test was somehow wrong. How can that be a second opinio without a biopsy?
Posted Sun, 1 Sep 2013 in Cancer
Answered by Dr. Indranil Ghosh 7 hours later
Thanks for your query.

I am sorry to know about your husband. Clinical examination and PET scan can diagnose Biopsy is obviously required for the final diagnosis but if the clinical findings and radiology look like cancer, seldom it is not true. Hence if two doctors have opined the same, I don't think the diagnosis is anything else. I also don't feel that the sugar levels have caused a false test.

Now how to treat him. Unfortunately advanced stage disease is incurable and as he is presumably in a poor general condition, on a ventilator and tube fed, we can only consider supportive care and give him comfort till he lives. No specific anticancer therapy is going to help him.

Still a biopsy or needle aspiration should be done before we stamp that this is cancer and hence incurable.

Hope I have answered your query. I will be available to answer further followup queries, if any.
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