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Stage 3B lung cancer

positivewife
Posts: 21
Joined: Feb 2012

My husband saw some very up setting news on tv today. They said they have just found out radiation does not help stage 3 lung cancer. Since he has just finished 35 treatments of radiation along with chemo he is not happy with these results.Have any of you herd anything about this ? We see the doctor on Tuesday and will see what he has to say!

machja
Posts: 2
Joined: Feb 2012

I am sorry to hear about your husband. My mother was just diagnoised with Stage 3b lung cancer. They are not doing radiation on her at this time because radiation would damage too many of the good cells (she has emphasyma too). She is being treated with 3 rounds of chemo,rescan and if it shrinks, then radiation. We are dealing w/ Roswell Park which is research hospital and they are hoping to perform radiation so Im not sure where he heard the report. We just found a clinical trial (we arent doing the study for risk of getting placebo) and the study dr gave me manufacturers number. We are buying product right from them. $700/month though......Sun Farm Soup is the trial.
Best of luck to you both and there is always hope.

positivewife
Posts: 21
Joined: Feb 2012

Thank you for sharing the information on your mother.My husband also has emphasyma and copd. He was diagnoised with stage one lung cancer five years ago. He had surgery at that time and did not need any chemo or radiation because it was caught early. His lung cancer came back in September but this time it is in the lyump nodes between the two lungs.He has had 7 weeks of radiation doing it five days a week and eight weeks of chemo doing it one time a week while he was having the radiation. His doctor said the chemo worked better if he had the radiation at the same time. His lyump nodes have gone down half . He has now just finished two triple doses of chemo three weeks apart.
When my husband saw on Fox news that a new study that just came out proved that radiation does not help stage 3 lung cancer the reason he was up set is for the same reason I'm sure your mother would be. My husbands lung are so damaged from the copd and the emphasyma that he has been on oxygen 24/7 for the last six years.We were told before he had the radiation that it could making his breathing worse because the radiation can damage the lungs while working on killing the lyump nodes with cancer. My husband took the chance so that the cancer would not spread.
My husband will get his ct results back on Tuesday from his last triple dose of chemo. I will let you know what his doctor says about this new finding of radiation not helping stage 3 lung cancer.
Considering all he has been through he is doing very well. He is 68 years old and a real fighter.
I sincerely hope your mother does well with her chemo. Please keep me informed as I will you.

Ex_Rock_n_Roller's picture
Ex_Rock_n_Roller
Posts: 267
Joined: Mar 2011

I have to believe that was taken out of context, or intended as a sensational story leader.

The only way it could possibly be true is as an overall statistic (i.e. not shown to extend life significantly), and even then, I know there are studies that show the opposite. Taken literally, that statement would be equivalent to "This just in ... radiation does not kill cancer cells," which is patently ridiculous. I can tell you that in my case (3B), in April 2010, my left main stem bronchus was completely closed, to the extent that they couldn't even get the baby bronchoscope through to look in the lung.

Within weeks of starting radiation, I was getting air through, and have been breathing freely (and hiking in the mountains up to 10K feet in elevation) since September 2010.

Tell your husband to chill out. "Does not help" = NOT TRUE.

positivewife
Posts: 21
Joined: Feb 2012

Before you call something ridiculous you might want to check into it unless you are a doctor.If you go online under fox news you will see where the statement was made . There is a new finding as of this week "that radiation does not help stage 3 lung cancer".Radiation does help other cancers just not stage three lung cancer.
Since you told my husband to CHILL out = NOt TRUE. He called his doctor who had just seen the same thing on CNN. After checking he called us back and said YES! It is true!!
I'm sincerely happy things went so well for you but as we all know things change every day with cancer.

Ex_Rock_n_Roller's picture
Ex_Rock_n_Roller
Posts: 267
Joined: Mar 2011

I just looked on both of their web sites, and the most recent I could find was a Feb.12 article on Fox (lead line is "A controversial radiation treatment for patients who've had lung cancer surgery may not help elderly people live longer, U.S. researchers have found."), which had to do only with post-surgical radiation in older people, which doesn't fit your description. I find nothing related in a search of CNN's site, but will keep looking.

In any case, you will note that I concede it could be true re. overall survival stats, which says nothing about whether it is a good idea for any person as an individual or at any particular time. There can be no question that radiation can be of benefit no matter what stage of the cancer, even if it's short-term benefit. It's standard treatment. I doubt it's going to be terminated any time soon.

Again, although you may not like the phrase "chill out," I would counsel your husband in favor of not borrowing an outcome based on something he heard on TV. Radiation can very well have a benefit in his case.

You don't get guarantees with this illness, and anyone as a person is certainly not bound by a characterization put forth on a TV program.

I wish a successful outcome for you and your husband.

Ex_Rock_n_Roller's picture
Ex_Rock_n_Roller
Posts: 267
Joined: Mar 2011

When I Google your exact wording, I get the following off astro.org:

"Higher radiation dose does not help lung cancer patients live longer Miami Beach, Fla., October 3, 2011

A higher dose of radiation (74 Gy) does not improve overall survival for non-small cell lung cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes, compared to the standard radiation dose (60 Gy), according to an interim analysis of a late-breaking randomized study presented at the plenary session, October 3, 2011, at the 53rdAnnual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO)."

This is a pretty technical finding that says that a HIGHER dose than standard doesn't improve outcomes over the STANDARD dose of radiation, which is not the same as saying that radiation itself is not beneficial.

Is this the study they were citing? This plus the Feb. 12 study I referred to in my last post are the only things I can find that seem both recent and at all related to your concern. Maybe there's something else out there that I've missed.

Again, I would counsel your husband to take heart, because neither of these two studies support that radiation is of *no* benefit in stage 3 NSCLC, and, again, a person is not a statistic.

The interesting question to put to your onco-doc, and much more relevant than anything anybody here can tell you, would be whether the study, had he known about it, would have caused him to recommend a different treatment for your husband. I definitely don't read minds, but I'd guess not.

All the best to you.

P.S.:
I'm not a doctor, but I do have a B.A. in Biology and an M.S. in Applied Statistics, so I'm generally not too bad at reading this kind of stuff (in addition to, unfortunately, having first-hand experience)

Dan620
Posts: 213
Joined: Dec 2009

Dx in May 2008 .... NSCLC stage 3B nonoperable 4 chemos and 35 radiation treatments, last treatment Aug. 20th 2008 Follow up ct-scans showed tumor was toasted rads. Last ct-scan Jan 4th,2012 showed scar tissue. I truly believe i am here today because of the radiation treatments i had. Will be 70 years young this June and enjoying life.... Stay well all.... Dan

ColoradoDani's picture
ColoradoDani
Posts: 65
Joined: Sep 2011

I am an English professor and spend a substantial amount of time teaching my students how to go back to original sources because so much information is sensationalized by the mainstream media. This practice of misleading news is all too common, and I'm suspicious of most anything until I've verified it with credible sources.

I have access to the medical journal articles and read them (even though I'm not a doc nor have a strong biology background, but I do work in science as a technical editor sometimes and understand the what of journal articles even if I don't understand the why and how). So, I assure you that study after study shows that radiation does help for most cases. Doctors rely on this evidence to make their decisions and are loathe to go against what the evidence suggests (it's the premise of their entire profession). My husband (also originally diagnosed at 3b) doesn't have a tumor thanks to radiation. Chemo never would have gotten rid of it. In fact, he has no symptoms of cancer at all and went skiing at 12,000 feet on Friday and kept up with guys in their early 30s (he's 48).

I can understand how upsetting that information would seem after going through 7 weeks of radiation, but unfortunately, medical information is too often taken out of context and spread around, causing fear and despair. This is why I get emails from well-intentioned friends telling me that we could cure hubby's cancer if only...
he ate more fish and blueberries
oxygenated his blood
had a positive attitude, etc. etc. If only it were that easy--instead, we opted to stick to the scientifically proven methods of chemo and radiation.

Hang in there.It's hard to not be stressed and emotional during scary times. Trust me. We all know this.

positivewife
Posts: 21
Joined: Feb 2012

Thank you for your nice reply .Yes I am stressed and emotional today because my husbands stage 3B lung cancer now is stage 4.We got the results of his CT scan today after 35 radiation treatments and 12 chemo treatments his cancer has now spread into his right lung. He has one large mass in the middle of the lung and three smaller ones. He will have another pet scan and than his doctor will tell us what his next course of action will be.He cannot have surgery or any more radiation on his lungs so I'm sure he will be having more chemo.My husband is a fighter and has a very positive attitude but today was not easy. We will start over again tomorrow.

ColoradoDani's picture
ColoradoDani
Posts: 65
Joined: Sep 2011

I'm so sorry. I don't know what to say except that I understand that disappointment and fear. We just went through something similar when we found out my husband's cancer had recurred. Know that I'm thinking of you.

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