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"Do metastatic cancers have the same doubling rate as the original cancer?"

ZocdocAnswersDo metastatic cancers have the same doubling rate as the original cancer?


Had major surgery for stage III adrenal cortical carcinoma in May. Tumor removed en bloc, with clear margins other than invasion the renal vein, inferior vena cava (about 8cm) and the lymph system. Pathology showed no cancer in the lymph nodes. First follow up CT scan shows a nodule in the lung. Next scan will be done in about 6 weeks. Would like to know about how fast the nodule can be expected to grow if it is metastatic cancer and/or at what size I should have the nodule removed.


Sorry to hear about your recent surgery and cancer, and hope that you recovery is going well. This is a hard question to answer, and is different for each cancer and person. So I recommend that you speak with your doctor. While the tumor cells are obviously of the same lineage as the original cancer, most people consider the fact that the tumor cells have spread to other parts of the body as a sign that something has changed from the original cancer to make them be able to spread. In other words, there is something fundamentally different about metastatic tumor cells as opposed to the original tumor. Whether or not those differences affect the doubling time is hard to say, and is very tumor specific. In your situation, it is important to realize that there is no proof that the nodule in the lungs is metastatic tumor. If it is indeed disease that has spread from your carcinoma, it is expected that there will have been some increase in size by the time that follow up scan is completed. This will be very valuable to your doctor and yourself with regards to prognosis. Lung nodules are quite common in some parts of the country, and are often benign. Please speak with your doctor for more information.

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