This afternoon, I received a call from my ENT confirming what I had already known or suspected – based on the biopsy results I had cancer. In particular, squamous cell carcinoma. Doctors describe cancer by its grade (G), which describes how much cancer cells look like healthy cells when viewed under a microscope. If the cancerous tissue looks very different from healthy tissue, it is called poorly differentiated or a high-grade tumor. The cancer’s grade can help the doctor predict how quickly the cancer will spread. In general, the lower the tumor’s grade (such as G1 or G2), the better the prognosis. In my case, unfortunately the cells were poorly differentiated (G3 or G4).
The cancer was in the enlarged lymph node, but that was only one of the locations where it had spread. We needed to know where the cancer originated. Based upon a review of the various markers evidenced in the pathology report, I grew increasingly concerned that the cancer started in my lungs. The next step was to perform a PET/CT scan to reveal the primary source of the disease.