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Small cell lung cancer

Posts: 3
Joined: Jun 2005

My husband has small cell lung cancer and is in his fourth "round" of chemo. For him, a round is a five hour infusion of two cancer drugs - usually carboplatin and taxol, of late. This time his platelet count was too low, so they just gave him taxol. I've never seen him so low. He was diagnosed three years ago, in an early stage, we were told in Thailand, where he was diagnosed. Now the cancer has spread to where it is lining the exterior half of his left lung. He also has a fluid-filled "sack" attached to the outside of the same lung. I don't know how to help him any more. He has never been the type to talk to anyone. And now he is even more isolated. And sick. Tired constantly. His prognosis is four to eight months. Is there anyone else who has been through this who can talk to me? I will check back in the morning. Thanks for listening.

Posts: 8
Joined: Apr 2007

hello I`m Ania I have colon cancer, the only thing that I can do is pray for both of you... keep the faith...

Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

Hi Carlinda1,

You've been with this a lot longer than I so I feel you know more than I. But I still like to offer some suggestions you can consider.

It sounds like his current therapy has not stabilized his cancer. Are the doctors treating him only for palliative care, without regard to destroying the cancer? Have you and your husband resigned yourselves to this plan? If not, you may consider clinical trials or alternative therapies. There is so much out there that is confusing, with a lot not accepted by the medical establishment.

It's important for your husband to stay well-nourished. Has he lost an appetite? You may want to consider feeding him small meals more frequently. There are shakes you can blend that would be easy to consume. Or you could get products such as Ensure. Be sure, he gets enough protein. Nuts, beans and tofu are good sources.

Your husband sounds to be deep in depression. Some survivors here have noted they took anti-depressants to help them through it.

He may not be talkative, but all he may need is someone to talk to him and keep him company. I believe in not drowning the cancer patient with reminders and discussions of his/her illness. Talk about other topics you and your husband did before cancer. Engage with him socially. Look and chat about photos in your collection. Watch your favorite or new movies. Read a book for him.

It may help also if he could reach out to other cancer survivors. See if you can get him to one of the chats. I know some members here are arranging for one, which I will try to make.

You need an outlet, too.

Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2007

i have sclc too, i know what its like to get one bad pet scan after another... but if you ever wanna talk, ya can find me in the chat room .....Tim

Posts: 31
Joined: Feb 2006

hi , I have small cell lung cancer,I was diagnosed in 2001, I was told I would never leave the hospital. The tumor was on my left l, ung, in left lung, in lymph nodes , wrapped around aorta artery and pushing against my esophogus.I was given less than a 5% chance of survival. My oncologist told me she was going to throw everything including the kitchen sink at it. I started out with cisplatnum and vp-16 (etopocide). I had three day cycles which lasted approximately 8 hours each day and off for three weeks. My second cycle (second treatment) I had a bad reaction to the cisplatnum and blood counts dropped and was hospitalized for three days. My third cycle I was switched to carboplatnum instead of the cisplatnum, added taxol and kept the vp-16. The tumor at the start was approximately 5 inches x 4 inches x 3 inches. The fourth cycle the tumor had shrunk enough to get into one port of radiation and it was during the fourth cycle that I also started radiation to my chest, side and back. I had radiation 5 times a week for six and one half weeks. The tumor in inoperable, it has remained inactive and I am doing well. I know how your husband is feeling, I was soo soo sick, tired, I would force myself to eat chicken noodle soap with toast in it (warm), my wife also would make me small milkshakes. I was very sick for 10 - 14 days after each cycle , then I would get my appetite back and eat.It was a long hard battle, but I am here and doing well. I had a total of 6 cycles. If I can be of any help to your husband, I would be glad to talk with him or you. I know this is a rotten battle, and is easy for everyone to say stay strong ,but it does wear you down. I hope I have helped some and will keep you both in my prayers. Mike

susanne2006's picture
Posts: 1
Joined: Dec 2006

Hi Mike. Glad to hear that you are beating the odds for extensive small cell carcinoma. Do you know if it is typical for cisplatin or carboplatin to be combined with VP-16 AND taxol? Appreciate any input you can give, Susanne

Posts: 31
Joined: Feb 2006

hi susanne, I was started first on cisplatnum, it is supposed to produce a better response in the battle against sclc, I could not take the side effects of cisplatnum, so my second cycle after a bad reaction to it, I was changed to carboplatnum, and they also added taxol along with the vp-16 I was already receiving with the treatment. So the last four cycles , were three long days on carboplatnum, vp-16 and taxol and three weeks off. I started radiation my fourth cycle , to my chest, side and back. I had rads five times a week for six and one half weeks. I hope , I have answered what you were asking and God bless. Mike

caliieegrl's picture
Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2009

Hi Mike,
I was reading your post. My Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer May of this year. He had a spot on his lung of course then on his neck and hip.
At the end of June they started radiation to shrink the one on his neck so he could breathe better.
After 4 weeks of radiatin he took a few weeks off before his first round of chemo. He has had 2 rounds of chemo.
He just went into the hospital last week and came home today.
He is very weak and dehydrated.
The Dr.s took another CAT scan and MRI and found that the tumor on his hip had grown 40% and there is a new spot on his jaw. My question is does this mean there is nothing to help my dad?
The Dr also said he got the best of radiation and chemo. Is that true?
My dad is 76 years young and very weak he just doesn't eat. I am so scared for him and my mom. They are the best parents ever and my mom really needs him.
Should we continue treatment, get a second opinion, I am just really confused and very sad.
Please help me and my family with some hope.
Do you feel there is hope? Can he get better?
I love him so very, very much.
Any thing will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you so much.
God bless,

Posts: 3
Joined: Oct 2009

Have similar situatuon with my dad. He's had 3 rounds of chemo and doing radiation on his head because of recent brain tumors. We are seeing a new dr. friday to see if there are any other options. The 1st dr. says he can't do anything else and suggested hospice. From all I read there are several chemo treatments. My dad makes himself eat even when has no appetite. He is also drinking ensure or boost which is good. You can even add ice cream and make like a malt. I love my dad very much and I'm not ready to lose him either. I lost my mom 5 years ago from colon cancer. She was only 61. My dad just turned 74.Please seek out another Dr.. It never hurts to get a 2nd opinion. We have to have faith.

Posts: 2
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi Mike- I know it was two years ago you posted this--but Iam really happy to hear that there was someone out there that beat this small cell lung cancer... Are you still in remission??

My husband was just diagnosed with the sclc as well and is just now starting on the same two things you were started on. Today was literally only his 2nd chemo dose and he feels nothing so far....but I heard it kicks in later!!! All we know is that his brain is clean, he did not do the PET scan yet, so we have to wait and see what that shows. His is a 10 cm large tumor in his upper left lung as well and is pressing near the left larynx....(which was shown to be partially parallyzed (due to the tumor) so his voice is very hoarse-like larangytis. My husband is 58 and in other wise decent condition. Our youngest daughter is 16 and still has 2 more years of High School.

Reading the internet shows you that small cell lung cancer is a real death sentence. It dos'nt even make it sound like ANYONE ever makes it for small cell. If you get this- you're going to be dead within a few years----that's almost eveywhere I'm reading. I'm glad I found you to give us some hope.

Would much appreciate it if you could drop a line to us with some words of encouragement!
Many Thanks
Donna and Ron Baldino

Posts: 2
Joined: Jul 2009

i realize it is 2 years from this posting. I was wondering how your husband is doing today July 29th 2009 ?

My husband(58) was just diagnosed with the small cell lung cancer and everything I read on it gives not hope and I just refuse to believe there is no hope!!!

Please email me back and let me know how your husband made out.
Many Thanks
Donna Baldino

Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2009

My wife,Vicki was diagnosed in June 2006, She did ,Cisplatin and other chemicals, as well as concurrent radiation 2 times a day for 3 weeks and then 3 more cycles of chemo. She was a sick lady but she just had,(June),her 10th Scan that is basically clean and her oncologist suggested she have her port removed as it doesn't appear that she will need it for some time. We have been traveling(RV) and square dancing once or twice a week for two years now. She also had the profalactic Brain Radiation with very few side effects. We realise that we are very fortunate and that the other shoe may drop at anytime, but for now we are gateful for every good day. Good Luck and try to be positive. Art and Vicki Hilts,norarth@hotmail.com

PreciousFox15's picture
Posts: 3
Joined: Aug 2009

I'm a bit lost here. My husband (45) was diagnosed on Aug.27,2009 with Small Cell Lung Cancer stage IV(SCLC)......NOT Non Small Lung Cancer(NSCLC).

I read here of people that have small cell lung cancer, but when you read there post they are talking about NSCLC.

I need to know if there is anyone out there that is a survivor of Small Cell Lung Cancer stage IV and if so how long since you were diagnosed, and what is the treatment you are getting and why.

He had fluid removed from the lining around his right lung (the tumor is in the right lung)and was told that they are almost sure there is cancer cells in it(sometimes cancer cells are so small they can't see them). They have also said there is a spot on his liver that is cancer.

He has had one cycle of chemo, Carboplatin and Etoposide. He said that he could breath better and his cough got better just after the first day of chemo.

He goes again for chemo on the 16th,17th and 18th of this month. He has been feeling fine, You would never know he has cancer. I'm the one that is a wreak.

I have been reading and reading and reading everything I can find on the internet about this. But so far I can't find anyone that has had SCLC :-(

I'm not going to give up or let him give up. I don't care what the doctors say about how long he might have. I just keep doing my research.

I know this is an agressive cancer and that is why time is of the essence. We meet with the doctor tomorrow and I am going to tell her I want a scan done before his next round of chemo.

I don't want to find out later that something else could have been done or his chemo changed because of what they find after the second cycle.

He has taken all his records,lab slides and scans to the Northwestern University of Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, where they have an oncologist that specializes in the lungs.

I'm going to call the number they have here for help with finding clinical trials, after I find out more from the doctor tomorrow or after his next chemo.

If anyone can suggest anything else that I should be doing or know of a doctor or trial we can try, let me know, or if you think that a PET scan and or radiation of the brain should be done now.

God bless everyone on this site, you and my husband are all in my prayers.

Sherry :-)

cobra1122's picture
Posts: 244
Joined: Jul 2009

Your right it can be overwhelming and confusing, but the disease it self is that same way.
My treatment was 8 hours every 3 weeks, on heavy doses of Carboplatin, Taxol, and Avastin (with Neulasta for the white blood cells). I had 8 rounds (treatments). But because of complications to my other illnesses, Brain atrophy and heart damage accurd and I decided that I wanted quality of live not quanity. The normal side effects lasted 2 weeks for me so I didn't have a chance to enjoy live that I am now..
Keep on striving and fight every inch, and don't give in to negative thinking. The best treatment is a positive attitude, love and support.
I am a complicated case, I am 49 yrs old I suffered numerous head injuries in life that brought on early onset of Altzheimers and Parkinsons, I inheirited a bad heart and after numerous heart attack (double bypass, 8 stents) I am left with less than 45% of my heart working, I have suffered several strokes, and in Apirl 2008 was dianosed with NSCLC right lung and lymps and SCLS in my right lung, I had several (8) chemo treatments, but because of my other illnesses had to stop, the chemo bought me time, I am now classified terminal because it has mets to other regions and suffer another heart attack. BUT I keep going, and my wife is right by my side.
Don't go by everything you read or hear, especially on the internet, sometimes it just causes more stress and unreal hopes than is real. Unfortunately, your husband and you are in for a battle, but create memories, enjoy the time you have together, treat everyday special, don't let yourselves become inbroiled in trying this and finding that and forget that your both aliive and need to enjoy that time you have..
You will find every cure has its cost and nnot every cure is just that a cure. What your husband feels, responses to, and how he battles is different than anyone else. Cancer and its treatment are very individualize, all though we may have simliar processes along the way, he may or maynot have the same side effects as I..
I realize that your searching for answers, this is the site to get them, just take everything with a pinch of caution. I wish I could tell you this is the how, the why, and the when. But everyone is so different that there are no forsures.
Be there for each other with Positive attitudes and love, that goes along way believe me , I have out lived every Doctors diagnoses when it comes to how long..

Our Prayers and Best wishes to Your Husband and You and the Family....

Dan and Margi Harmon

Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2009

myy dad was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer lastt octoberr..doctors told him it was uncurable..all they could do was prolong hes life...it mentally scared him obviously....they said he had the cancer for about a year so all together he has had the cancer for 2 years..in the end they gave him 5 months worth of cheamotherapy...and a 7 day session of radiotherapy to hes lung and to hes head to stop the cancer from spreading to hes brain....today being 17/09/09 after 2 years my dad is still going strong..he is in no pain what so ever!! he takes morphine to calm hes coughing down...he can still do everything for himself...hes a bit depressed sometimes..but he still has life hope and time in him yet...all of hes family are scared but are staying strong for him...my family have gone along the motto of happy hormones can help to fight cancer...because if he is happy within himself hes body wont want to give up....but if he is down hes body will want to give up....dad has tried to stay happy and live a normal life and it seems to be working....!! so the advice i can give to you is make sure he stays happy..i hope this helps...and my thoughts and wishes are going out to you and your husband xxxx

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