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Diagnosed with lung cancer at the tip of lung. Advised to increase weight before surgery. Suggest the treatment?

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Practicing since : 2004
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I am writing on behalf of my Mother In Law, who has been diagnosed with lung cancer. The cancer is at the tip of her lung and is currently the size of a small lemon.

She has been told she has to put on weight for surgery as surgery itself can cure her cancer. The problem is she is not putting weight on, she is on a high calorie intake and only weighs 7 stone. She needs to put at least 7 pounds on. She is on build up drinks prescribed by GP and eating plenty to still no avail of putting weight on.

Can she be took into hospital and maybe put on a drip or a tablet or something to help build her weight up? She has been told if she doesn't put weight on by October that there will be no operation as it will be too late, surely the stress of this is not helping as this is what she is mainly focusing on.

Please help me.

Thank you
Posted Tue, 10 Sep 2013 in Cancer
Answered by Dr. Indranil Ghosh 2 days later
Thanks for your query.
I understand your concern. Her weight is indeed a bit low. But for surgery weight alone is usually not the limiting factor. There are many patients who have been always lean and thin and have tolerated surgery just like any other. The patient should be otherwise fit and fine. Anyway, if her surgeons feel she should put on more weight then you can't help it. They must have advised what is best for her.
I don't think drips or tablets can do it. If she is eating well even tube feeding won't help. May be she needs some more dietary modifications. If still she is unable to gain then she may be taken up for surgery anyway. Else we can go for the second best option, radiotherapy.
However, some concealed illnesses may lead to this failure to gain weight, like diabetes or hyperthyroidism. Make sure these have been ruled out.

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