Medical Q&As

Carcinoma - incomplete information?

My mother is due to see a cancer specialist in Cork. We know that my mother has carcinoma and metastases but we donít know what type of carcinoma she has. We only have a vague pathology report and donít yet have her other results, which include a variety of blood tests that were performed over the course of a week. Should we not know the results of these tests before proceeding? How can she be recommended for chemotherapy on the basis of incomplete information?

It is not unusual for a diagnosis of carcinoma to be made without the primary tumour being identified. The fact that your mother has metastases indicates that the cancer has spread beyond the primary tumour. I note your concern about the test results not being available but I am sure that the various test results will be available to the specialist by the time your mother sees him. The treatment plan for your mother will be formulated on the basis of the results of the various investigations and her general clinical state. You mention the possibility of chemotherapy but I donít think it is useful to engage in speculation about possible treatments. The visit to the specialist should put an end to your current uncertainty. If the source of the metastases and the nature of the carcinoma have not been identified by then it is still possible to treat your mother. Sometimes treatment has to proceed even though the primary tumour may not have been identified.