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Anyone not take chemo as part of their treatment?

Posts: 100
Joined: Jul 2013

I see a new oncologist this week and I am sure, even though I am Stage IV terminal lung cancer, that she will recommend chemo as it seems they always do for everyone and every cancer.  But, I personally doubt it would be worth doing for the side effects.  Unless she could say that by taking it that I would gain a year or more on my life, I don't think it would be worth the problems and side effects.  Anyone else ever not take chemo and how are you doing?  Did your onco tell you in months or years how much chemo would add?  I just don't want to be stupid, but, I also don't want to be miserable for the remaining time I have left.  Quality over quantity, right?


Thanks, Carlee

Ex_Rock_n_Roller's picture
Posts: 281
Joined: Mar 2011

... I did take chemo, but let me make a couple comments.

Statistics are group numbers (i.e. median expectations), and as such are useful for planning, but you don't know how you as an individual will do. In your shoes, and having done chemo, I would recommend that you consider trying it to see if it's effective. There are more than a few Stage IVs who have quite a few miles on their clock by virtue of chemo. What if you did a couple months on it and found that your cancer really responded? You can't know that without trying. You can always quit if it's wrecking your quality of life. My philosophy is, "I'll try anything once."

If you're looking for something like a guarantee from your doc that you'll get at least a year on chemo, that's a pretty high bar. They don't know any more ahead of time about how you will respond to chemo than you do. Without a crystal ball, they couldn't guarantee you two months (or any other specific time).

The other thing is that absence of chemo does not necessarily equal good quality of life. You might even feel better on it. You are not guaranteed to get nasty side effects. I had what is generally considered to be one of the nastier chemo regimens, and I didn't get a side effect worthy of the name. That's another thing you can't predict ahead of time.

If I were you, being where I've been, I'd give it a try.


Posts: 773
Joined: Apr 2012

My husband has chosen quality over quantity.  He was first treated for laryngeal cancer, radiation, chemo and surgery.  One year later a 2nd primary was found at the cervical of his esophagus.  Surgery was ruled out and radiation and chemo offerred.  He took the treatment but 4 months later the tumor was back and larger and there is now cancer in his right lung.  He said no more.  Only thing offerred was chemo and we were told up front it wouldn't cure, only prolong and possibly hasten.   It has been 8 months and he has been doing okay.  Low energy levels, some pain, but not bad.  He doesn't do as much as he was say 2 months ago but he still cuts the lawn on his riding mower and a little yard work but that's it.  He is, I would say better off, from not having more chemo.  This was his decision and his alone.  None of his doctors said how long they think he has and in reality that's good.  I feel that the only person who knows that is the man upstairs.

Wishing you the best -- Sharon


Posts: 100
Joined: Jul 2013

My oncologist needs more info before we discuss a real treatment plan.  She did say that chemo and or rads would probably improve my quality, rather than to just do nothing.  We see her again in a couple of weeks when she gets more info.  She said there are lots of chemo pills that could be taken that have virtually just a few to no side effects and most have no side effects.  That was encouraging.


Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2014

Carlee, this time around, my husband has decided not to do chemo... Had rectal cancer, now has lung cancer. To many tumors to count in both lungs. his Onc said that if he had no treatments, 1yr, if he got pneoumonia, 1-3 months. With chemo 1-2 yrs. but, for as long as he lives, he would be doing chemo...its in Gods hands now.

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