Can you have partial lung cancer?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
Wiseeagle asked...

My brother says he has 80% lung cancer and was told that it was chronic granulomatous lung disease. He also has tuberculosis. How can you have 80% lung cancer? I thought if you had lung cancer it was for sure. With HIPPA law I cant find anything out for myself. Our family is worried.

Expert Answers

Bonnie Bajorek Daneker is author and creator of the The Compassionate Caregiver's Series, which includes "The Compassionate Caregiver's Guide to Caring for Someone with Cancer," "The Journey of Grief," "Handbook on Hospice and Palliative Care," and other titles on cancer diagnosis and end of life. She speaks regularly at cancer research and support functions, including PANCAN and Cancer Survivor's Network. She is a former member of the Executive Committee of the CSN at St. Joseph's Hospital of Atlanta and the Georgia Chapter of the Lymphoma Research Foundation.

With a cancer diagnosis, that means there is presence of cancer. It does not mean that a part of the body is 100% cancerous.  With the HIPAA laws, it's true that you will not find additional information from the care providers, but you should try to glean the information from your brother first. Is he not sharing because he doesn't know himself, he is in denial, he is afraid to share to upset you, or he just doesn't want you to know? Try to find out the cause so you can be of help. After all, this should be the ONLY reason that you know of his cancer condition. If he knows but choses not to tell you, you must try to respect that and give him the time and space that he needs. Lung cancer's mortality rate is high, and he is likely just coming to grips with that.