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swollen,red ankles & calves

bugsy127
Posts: 12
Joined: Feb 2006

Hi all,
I have been having problems off and on (mostly on)with my feet,ankles and now calves swelling and are red (people ask if i'm sunburned). They also are painful when i walk or they are touched. My Dr. does't seem to know what the problem is and does'nt seem too concerned. He has'nt seen them at there worst.Has anyone had any problems like this? I've tried doing some research but theres not a lot of info about the problem as it relates to lung cancer. Theres a lot of possible causes though.Any help or thoughts would be appreciated. I see my Dr. on thur. and am going to insist we get to the bottom of this, because something is not right. thanks all.

reinstones1's picture
reinstones1
Posts: 92
Joined: Feb 2006

Please contact your doctor immediately (DO NOT wait until Thursday!) and request an ultrasound on your legs. This EXACT thing happened to my mother, and ONLY UPON HER INSISTENCE did they find clots in her legs. She was nearly unable to walk by the time they found the clots-- her legs were so swollen that it looked like her skin would split, and her pain was severe.

DO NOT let this go. I'm surprised that your doctor doesn't seem to know what's wrong, as clots are VERY common in cancer. My mother has been on Heparin since her clots were discovered in January.

I would bet that you have clots in your lower legs-- and if so, time is of the essence in getting them treated properly with anticoagulants, so you can get some relief.

My best to you-- and please update us as soon as you can.

Diane411
Posts: 13
Joined: Aug 2006

Hi bugsy127,

Have you had and Ultrasound on your legs? It could be peripheral artery disease (PAD). That can cause swelling and redness. Have you had your heart checked lately? It could be some kind of coronary artery disease.

kaitek
Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

Hi bugsy127,

Reinstones1 is on the money. (Isn't it wonderful she and now Diane411 are actively participating and responding to cancer concerns? This forum isn't that active so I think she and now Diane411 are godsends!)

I, too, find it odd that your doctor is so oblivious to the swelling in your ankles. Everytime we go for my mom's chemo treatments, her oncologist checks her ankles and feet to be sure they haven't swollen. In fact, he checked for that condition while she was still hospitalized and he came for our first meeting. As reinstones1 said, cancer patients are prone for blood clots.

My mother has varicose veins before cancer presented itself so she's even more vulnerable. Her oncologist gave a valuable advice for my mother to extend and bring in her foot to work her calf muscles, which helps pump the blood in her legs.

I've been giving my mom a raw garlic clove, minced, 5 days of the week. Garlic is supposed to be a natural blood thinner. I don't know if it has helped prevent blood clots. In any case, that's not the primary reason I have her take it. Garlic is supposed to have anti-cancer properties.

reinstones1's picture
reinstones1
Posts: 92
Joined: Feb 2006

Thanks, kaitek. :-)

Blood clots in the lower legs and the associated complications have become my "cause du jour", so to speak. A few months ago, another poster's father was having similar problems with his legs, and again, the doctors either didn't seem concerned or didn't really know what was wrong with him. Having just gone through it with my Mom, I offered her my story, and some helpful advice to try to help her dad. Guess what? He had clots in his legs that had gone undiagnosed.

So. . . moral of the story. . . I feel compelled to urge anyone suffering from swollen lower extremities to request an ultrasound from their doctor immediately. I honestly don't know why ALL oncologists don't recognize the warning signs of blood clots and act faster?

I have been checking the board yesterday and today to look for bugsy's response. . . I'm hoping he's getting this resolved.

kaitek
Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

Reinstones1, I'm just glad that you are active on the board and sharing information. I think we can learn so much from each other on how our loved ones or ourselves are battling this insidious disease. It's so scary that it's comforting to come here to have our hands held, so to speak. You are definitely one of the hand holders even though you're experiencing your own emotional lows.

So thanks back to you, Reinstones1.

bugsy127
Posts: 12
Joined: Feb 2006

Hi all
i had an ultra sound done today of both legs, no blood clots. i had been off my feet with them elevated for the last 3 days and almost all the swelling went down. still a little redness. if it gets bad again i will insist on more testing till we find out whats wrong. i also got the results of my last scan and it showed growth in the tumors. so no more alimta and on to a clinical trial i suppose. and the saga continues. i,ve been strangely calm about it. i seem to be that way every time i get bad news. kinda wierd. anyways thanks all talk to you later.

kaitek
Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

Hi bugsy127,

I'm sorry to hear your treatments haven't been effective. You said you were on Alimta. Have you been on Isressa or Tarceva? Both of those drugs target cancer cells by cutting off their blood vessels (if I'm getting my facts straight). That seems a lot more purposeful than regular chemo that attacks all growing cells.

If you haven't, try asking your oncologist to test you for the EGFR mutation. Not having the mutation isn't going to mean it is hopeless as my mom's thoracic surgeon said that people without it do recover.

I hope you keep pursuing different therapies no matter what. Never give up.

I get extremely stressed out with each diagnostic test, but I am gaining confidence my mom is progressing well from the improvements in her physical condition.

I wish you well and a treatment that will work for you.

reinstones1's picture
reinstones1
Posts: 92
Joined: Feb 2006

Kaitek-- we were told that Iressa is not prescribed to new patients anymore (new = those who have never taken it). It's apparently only still being given to patients who took it when it was initially available, and showed response to it. Have you received different information from your Mom's oncologist?

Bugsy-- glad to hear that you do not have clots in your legs. Glad you got it checked out. Sorry that your recent scan showed some activity, but keep the faith.

kaitek
Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

Hi Reinstones1,

Hmm, I had come across news about Iressa being withheld. My mom's oncologist didn't mention anything about Iressa. We talked only briefly about Tarceva when I was finding out what treatment her thoracic surgeon was alluding to when he said that my mom's profile was good for a certain treatment. The oncologist supposed it was Tarceva the thoracic was alluding to. He said that Tarceva was for second-line treatment. I'm hoping we don't have to get that far, as the Taxol/Carbo combination seems to be working well.

Thanks for keeping my information in check. You're far more informed than I.

You mentioned a bit of your mother's progress and how much her tumor decreased and then stabilized. Before the CT scan, were you able to notice how she was doing by her physical improvements? Particularly, your mother had fluid build-up, which meant she was suffering from shortness of breath until the pleurodesis (that became ineffective). I'm guessing her early symptoms included a persistent cough, fatigue and loss of appetite, which were all of my mom's initial symptoms.

How is your mom doing now?

kaitek
Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

Hi bugsy,

Don't give up and don't accept your fate. I've been reading up on the latest lung cancer news and treatments on the University of Florida Shands Cancer Center site. A lot of the news concern the effectiveness of new drugs and the combination of drugs. One article noted the good results from the combination of Avastin and Tarceva. As long as you haven't exhausted all the approved drugs out there, keep fighting for treatments.

For others, I've found some hopeful and encouraging news on that same site. One particular news reported how well females who have never smoked before respond to chemotherapy alone.

You may also use the reports to ask your oncologist about certain drug regiments. Here is the link:

http://www.ufscc.ufl.edu/Patient/cancernews.aspx?section=cancernews&display=summary&cid=68,69,70,71

You can streamline the news to the particular lung cancer you or your loved one has.

HighwayStar
Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2009

I was in remission with stage 4 lung cancer I was taking Tarceva. I had my pet scan and the evil cancer returned, my Doctor started me on Alimta 4 rounds 3 weeks apart.1st week noticed a little swelling and itching, Next visit I told her,she siad take some benadril and some low dose ibprofen,and it went down, i just did my 3rd treatment and oh boy my left ankle foot and calf grew and was turning red and itching, this is the biggest its gotand just i see my doctor it start to go down some, then the cycle starts over, i guess after my 4 treatment it will stop,but this time i started to grow a rash across my back and shoulder,all she recommended is skin moistureizer, oh well hope it helped

Repunzel
Posts: 3
Joined: Nov 2009

My mother's feet & ankles also looked like they were going to burst. Right away I thought of blood clots. We had an ultrsound done, no clots. It turned out to be Cellulitus, a very contagious infection. She was treated with a broad spectrum antibiotic and a dieretic (sp?). Within a few days the swelling went down and the redness went away. No problem with this since then.

Pat

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