CSN Login
Members Online: 8

when did treatment start?

itrustgod
Posts: 41
Joined: Oct 2006

hello everyone,

i was just wondering... when you/your loved one was diagnosed with lung cancer, did your oncologist put you on treatment right away? My mom was diagnosed just about a month and a week ago, but she still hasnt started treatment yet. our family agreed to go on the Tarceva drug, but her doctor made her go through another biopsy and CAT scan to serve as her basis before treatment. The doctor said that the delay of treatment wouldn't be so much of a problem because apparently my mom's cancer has been around (undetected) for quite some time. Since it's already been over a month since her diagnosis; I know that she is getting frustrated with not starting treatment yet, and it's also actually starting to worry me as well. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? thank you.

kaitek
Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

Cabbott gave a great, informative post on the progression of cancer. What it comes down to is cancer is different for people. Even if two people share the same type of cancer (e.g., non-small cell lung cancer adenocarcinoma), they could have different aggressive cancer cells.

To give you an idea of the treatment timeline of others, my mom was first beset with symptoms in mid-June (actually was earlier than that until she actually brought them up). It took a month for absolute diagnosis of lung cancer (ending with confirmation by biopsy). She spent another week in the hospital recovering from minor surgery. But from the time of the suspicion alerted by the CT/PET scan, medical attention was accelerated. Even when she was still in the hospital, the oncologist came to see her there. Treatment was begun a few days after she was released. The thoracic surgeon was more insistent on the immediacy of getting my mom on chemo regardless of whether her incision wound healed, as the oncologist was concerned chemo would hamper healing.

In summary, it was less than 2 months from time of symptoms presenting themselves before my mom received treatment, and less than a month (couple of weeks) after certain diagnosis.

It is helpful to use the CT scan as a baseline for how much of an improvement your mom makes on Tarceva.

All in all, don't get too frustrated with the treatment delay.

kaitek
Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

You mentioned in a post in another thread that your mom will be in a clinical study. I take it that this will be her first line of attack. Do you know why her doctors decided to put her in a clinical study first instead of going for conventional chemo? I know you mentioned that your mom has never smoked and never been exposed to secondhand smoke. Is that the reason the doctors decided on Tarceva?

itrustgod
Posts: 41
Joined: Oct 2006

katie, yes this is the first line of treatment for my mom. Well the first oncologist she met with told her that he will put her on chemo and radiation. when we went to a different hospital (BC Cancer Agency) my mom met with a lung cancer specialist and upon seeing my mom's records, she ruled out radiation because my mom's cancer has spread to different areas of her body (bones:ribs/collar bone and her thyroid as well). they were all fairly small spots, but they were scattered. they can't do radiation anymore because there will just be too many areas and it will make her too weak. So the lung cancer specialist offered two kinds of treatment: either the regular chemo (through IV) or this new drug, Tarceva. She said that Tarceva is still a clinial study (though having being around for 7 years), so if my mom wants, she could give Tarceva a try (mostly because it has less side effects). If Tarceva doesn't work then we'll try regular chemo. So right now as you can probably tell, I'm glad that Tarceva has been offered to us because it sounds like a very effective drug without the horrible side effects like nausea and hairloss..but it's just really frustrating how it is taking this long to actually start the treatment.. at least we will know if it works on her or not.

Plymouthean's picture
Plymouthean
Posts: 264
Joined: Jan 2004

I had nsclc, 3a. I started chemo/radiation five weeks after diagnosis. I, too, was worried that things weren't going quickly enough. I had been diagnosed as inoperable/incurable, so that seeemed to me to be incentive enough to begin treatment right away. As it turned out, there were many tests that needed to be done, some of which were related to my tolerance of treatments, considering my Congestive Heart Failure and other health problems. My tumor was quite large, but it was also slow-growing, so, although it had been there for some time, there was no immediate emergency.
My medical records show an incident, during one of the initial visits with the oncologist, where my wife and I became very upset that treatment was not being started quickly enough. That is a natural reaction, and when I better understood the process, I apologized to the doctor for my earlier criticism for not doing her job quickly enough. She assured me that no offense was taken, and that my initial reaction was very common, i.e., patients want treatment to begin right away.
Based on my experience, I would assure you that your Mom's doctors are in control of the situation. I'm now a five-year survivor.

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

Hi. My Mom was diagnosed with NSCLC (adenocarcinoma) on 12/7/05. She started chemo on 1/26/06, 6 agonizing weeks later.

I understand your concern about the delay in treatment, because we experienced the same thing. In my Mom's case, her first presenting symptom was malignant pleural effusion, which caused her to be short of breath. She had to have several thoracentesis procedures performed prior to the start of chemo, and eventually, was hospitalized to have a chest tube inserted and to have pleurodesis performed.

So, what I'm saying is, there WERE valid reasons that delayed her treatment, and her oncologist said the same thing-- that the delay wouldn't make much difference, because the cancer had apparently been around for a while before becoming symptomatic. It's hard to know exactly how they know this, but. . .

Just wanted to provide some input, and say that you're in my thoughts.

itrustgod
Posts: 41
Joined: Oct 2006

thanks for your replies, everyone. It helps to know that most of you have gone through the same thing. It is very frustrating being at the edge of your seat all the time... The oncologist told us that it could've been around 6 months to a year that my mom's cancer has been with her. She didn't have any symptoms before and they only time they started questioning her lungs was when she started feeling back pains and pain in her bones. her neck was swollen for quite some time and most of the doctors she saw kept on testing her for a thyroid problem. when all her results were negative, they started going for her lungs. She was finally diagnosed with lung cancer on Sept. 15/06. So it's been way over a month now and treatment still hasn't started. I'm sure you understand my frustration. I CAN'T WAIT to start treatment! My family is incredibly positive... we KNOW that my mom can get it through this... I'm actually very excited about the treatment because I can't wait for her next CAT scan/biopsy to show that her cancer cells are gone!

Marcijh
Posts: 3
Joined: Oct 2006

My husband is going through the same thing, only its been 9 weeks since the first cancer in his bladder was found, more tests, more waiting. Now it was found in his lung and adrenal gland. No treatment, another two weeks to wait. I don't understand either, you are told "get to your doctor" you do and wait and wait. I hope things speed up for you, the waiting to find out options is the worst and drains you emotionally and physically. Hugs to you. Marci

Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2014 © Cancer Survivors Network