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why no radiation treatments?

Posts: 17
Joined: Feb 2010

Like many of you with stage 4 nsclc, I have started chemo (4 treatments so far), but the Dr. said he would not do radiation because the amount of radiation he would have to do would be enough to kill me, but I see so many other people with stage 4 lung cancer and most of them seem to be getting some radiation treatment, does anyone know why I could not receive it? It seems with the pinpoint radiation treatments they have now they could treat some of it with radiation. Do you think a second opinion would be beneficial? Money, like usual, is a stumbling block, but this is my life I'm talking about, and I don't plan to go without a damn good fight.

Posts: 89
Joined: Dec 2009

Radiation only works on small, targeted areas. If you have widespread tumour, they couldn't give you enough to be effective without being too sick.

cobra1122's picture
Posts: 244
Joined: Jul 2009

I am 49yrs old,I was diagnosised in 08 with stage 4 lung cancer, I had NSCLC in the right lung with mets to the lymphs and SCLC in the left lung. I was given only chem as treatment in my case it was palliative care, and the cancer was to wide spread to do radiation. Tho they could used pinpoint, the amount necessary would have killed me.
That is in my case adn everyones different, we have different reactions to treatment and the drugs themselves. The chemo did more than just help releif some of the pain but actually reduced some of the tumors and bought me more time. So dont feel that with just chemo your chances are less than anyone elses. I have a very complicated health status, so I have had to stop chemo, but that didnt make me stop fighting. I am on Hospice now, have been since Jan/Feb 09 (they gave me 4-6 months then. So dont let anything make you feel that you have less of a chance as a survivor as anyone else, no matter what the treatment is.
Beside, there are so many advances of treatments now days you never know, no one does. The best we can do is cherish the day we have and never give up hope. There is always hope, in the face of no matter what there is hope. So you have to keep up a positive attitude.
If you read my bio you will see that I have multiple Health issues, but I keep a positive attitude because I want to keep going. I know that someday there will be a treatment that can put this disease in the past. I am a realist and know that it may not be in my life time, but I will fight for every minute I can, and if there is something they think may help I am always willing to try.

Our Prayers and Best Wishes to You, Your family, and Everyone else...,
Dan (cobra1122) and Margi Harmon

Posts: 17
Joined: Feb 2010

Thank you for sharing what you have been through, the dr. said that the amount of radiation needed would end up killing me, it just seemed like everyone else with stage 4 lung cancer was getting radiation and I just wanted to do everything they had to fight this. I was going through a two week period of self-pity and was feeling very low, am slowly coming out of it, but I think I was envious of people who were able to have surgery, radiation and chemo, I just want to do more than strictly chemo. I guess I was envious of people who were able to receive more treatment options than I have, How stupid and small of me to be envious of anyone who has lung cancer. I truly do wish anyone with cancer the best of everything, but as I said, I was in my own little world of self pity. The best to you and your family, and I am praying for everyone I have met on this site along with myself.

Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2010

My fabulous husband has Stage 4 Lung and he too was upset that chemo is his only option. He is on Avastin and we've seen some tumor shrinkage, but still radiation is not advised. He has been diagnosed for over a year and is still working.

hartmann's picture
Posts: 26
Joined: May 2010

It is so good to hear from others who are concerned about no radiation tx. I was dx with stage4 nsclc in jan 2010. I have extensive mets to the mediastinum andlymph nodes as well as multiple large tumors in my liver. I recieve a trio of chemo meds every 3 weeks. After the 2nd chemo the tumors had all begun to shrink but sometimes I wonder if there is something else we should be doing. I will have my 6th tx this week and then another scan. Am praying for the best. Very glad I found this site. Its good to here from others. My prayers are with you all!

Posts: 30
Joined: Dec 2009

My dad was diagnosed w/stageiv nsclc in November. After his third chemo treatment his cancer marker went down about 50 points. He & I went yesterday for his 4th treatment , at which time he was to get the results of Monday's PET scan. We were horrified to hear that some of the tumors got larger but he now has a mass next to his spine. His doctor immediately told him we're stopping chemo now, she's getting him to see the radiation oncologist & he will need a CAT scan of his spine & a thoracic MRI and a lumbar MRI ASAP, to see if there is anything in his spinal cord, which would be a medical emergency! He had been having severe pain in his chest and radiating to his back the last couple of days & his voice is now hoarse. We went to see the radiation oncologist & he said that they will start radiation for at least 5 treatments or as many as 15. This wil stop the progression of anything near his spine. His Onc. dr said he will resume chemo but we'll see what happens with the radiation. While starting the two stage MRI yesterday he was in such pain that he couldn't stay still so they had to stop the MRI. It had been a long day, as his original chemo appt. was at appt. 9am & now it was 1:30pm (a long time w/out more pain meds).His dr wanted the MRI yesterday but he wanted to go home, take meds & go to sleep. This was a hard day, both physically & mentally, with this setback. The only appt. he could get for an MRI today is in the afternoon so I am going to call in a few mins. to see if there are any cancellations this morning. His dr is not happy that he didn't get the MRI yesterday but understands his plight.

The one thing that is bothering me is that this last PET report states that "the previously observed paraspinal soft tissue mass seen on the left side.....This is similar to the mass seen on the prior study." The problem with this is that no where in the last PET does it mention anything about a paraspinal mass or anything the like. These two PET reports are written by 2 different doctor or techs. I am wondering if the 2nd reader was also looking at the actual scan from last time when writing up or looking at the most recent results.
I HOPE that the last report didn't LEAVE out this information in error & the dr saw it, & that's why she jumped up & started making phone calls yesterday. This is very scary.
Dad is very upset to say the least & looks despondent about this news.
To answer annemarie's question, I think yes with stage IV and the mets to distant organs radiation can do more harm than good. I know that the only reason they are going to do radiation on my dad is because it is close to his spine. This was not in the original plan.
I'll keep you up to date.

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