Stage 4 NSC lung cancer

joey5150 Member Posts: 13
edited March 2014 in Lung Cancer #1
Hi, I am from Canada and My father (62) was diagnosed with stage 4 NSC lung cancer in September 2006 that has spread to bone, liver and Head. They recently put a shunt in his head to drain fluid buildup, because he was getting confused at times and could not walk. He has had radiation on his head and chest and the chemo they went with was vinorelbin. the oncologist chose this because he is very weak and it is the lowest form of chemo. He did respond well after his 1st cycle but since has not. He has become weaker and his appetite has decreased further, and is losing weight. The oncologist has decided to stop the chemo and it seems like he wants to give up and when we asked about tarceva he replied it may only extend his life 6 weeks....I read the stories of hope on this message board and their must be something else we can try...Can anyone please give some advice.


  • kaitek
    kaitek Member Posts: 156 Member
    Gosh joey5150, I'm so sorry to hear about your father. His oncologist does seem to be throwing in the towel. You should really get another opinion or switch to another oncologist who will fight no matter what to recover.

    When the medical professionals are being so pessimistic, I would go into overdrive to cure your father by whatever means. At home, you can modify his daily diet to include 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of turmeric, 1/4 cup of walnuts, 1 cup of raspberries, 1 cup of soy milk or 1/2 cup of soft tofu, 1 minced raw garlic clove (allowed to rest 10 minutes before consumption) and at least 2 cups of cruciferous vegetables a week (with priority on broccoli, kale, radish, daikon or garden cress). I would give him a selenium pill of 200mcg. If he has problem a food going down, you can always cook and pureed any of the foods. A lot of those foods will boost his immune system, along with shutting down the mechanisms of how cancer cells grow (well, as tentative studies have found but nothing has been declared miracles). It is critical you keep him nourished even when he doesn't want to eat. If there is still fight in him, that is what he must put his effort into. As I've mentioned before 40% of cancer patients die not from the cancer itself but from malnutrition. 62 is still young in the scheme of life.

    As for treatment options, proton therapy (which is a type of radiation but more precise) and radiofrequency ablation (thermal tool) are touted as being effective weapons.

    On chemo, ask the oncologist about Avastin or even Alitma. I recently read that the combination of Avastin with Tarceva has good results, with minimal side effects. There is no sense in not trying at any stage. Again, if the oncologist is apathetic find someone else who is caring and supportive. You may want to try a teaching hospital where the latest advances in treatments are pursued.

    Much luck and my best wishes to you and your father.
  • SteveG.
    SteveG. Member Posts: 16
    Absolutely. IF you have ANY doubts about your medical team, find someone else. IF you are not 100% sure they are doing everything conceivable, find someone else. There are many, MANY great doctors out there who will do everything they can think of. Even if you are happy with your medical team, question, question, QUESTION! The good ones know you will do this, and they will be glad to assist you. Heck, My oncologist is constantly surprising me by answering questions I haven't even asked yet. I have to admit though, tht he does tend to "sugar-coat" the answers he is not happy to give, like chance of recurrence, etc.
  • ernrol
    ernrol Member Posts: 90

    I would get a second opinion from one of the large cancer centers, like M.D. Anderson or Sloan Kettering. No doctor should be making decisions for a patient to stop treatment, that is a decision that a patient should make. Your dad needs an oncologist that believes that he can treat him successfully.

    If your dads oncologist can predict how long Tarceva will keep some one going, he is the only one in the world that I know of that can do that. The truth is no one knows how a person will react to Tarceva. They claim it works best with non smoking, never smoked, Asian women. I do not meet any of those requirements. I have been taking Tarceva since August 2005 and have been cancer free since November 2005

    You can type ernrol in the search box at top of screen, then click on any place you see ernrol to the right of screen. This will take you to my web page. If you would like more info about the things I did let me know, and I can e-mail them.

    Stay positive.

  • Ree5558
    Ree5558 Member Posts: 21 Member
    Hello Joey, I am Jaree. I am 48 yrs old and was diagnosed with stage 3b nsclc in Feb., 2006. I had surgery, and even prior to my reocurrance my oncologist put me on Tarceva. Why, because it provided a chance, it gave me hope. Everyone who posted pretty much said te same thing, find a dr. who is willing to be behind your dad 100%. Where there is breath, there is hope. I will be praying for your dad, and I hope that he finds a dr. that will fight this cancer as though it was his own.
  • reinstones1
    reinstones1 Member Posts: 92
    The oncologist decided to stop his chemo? Does your father agree? There may be good medical reasons for discontinuing chemo, but your father and his family need to be involved in making that decision. It's his life.

    And 6 weeks is JUST an estimate. A guess based on statistics. Even if it is only 6 weeks, that time could mean everything to a cancer patient. But what if it's more? If your father is well enough and wants to try Tarceva, then he should do it. It's his choice, and if he's never used Tarceva, who's to say it won't work for him?

    Fighting cancer is done one decision, one drug at a time. The decisions are often difficult, scary ones, but one thing I've learned about dealing with cancer (my Mom was diagnosed a year ago), you just keep plodding along and making decisions and treatment choices as best you can given the information you have.

    If your father wants to fight, he should. Help him not give up and not listen to doctors who are being more pessimistic than perhaps they should be.

    Good luck.
  • baughman
    baughman Member Posts: 3
    My husband is also stage 4 lung cancer diagnosed on 12/26 after a horrendous series of mis diagnosis. IT IS NOT OVER UNTIL IT IS OVER!!! Our doctor has never expressed doubt that he can do something, but he has never given a prognosis as it is up to the individual. Hang in there and don't let negativity get to you. Find another doctor.
  • hoag
    hoag Member Posts: 1
    Hi Joey5150, I don't know what part of Canada you are in, but if you're in Ontario get your Dad to Princess Margaret Cancer Center in Toronto. Other than that, Google Comprehensive Cancer Centers in Canada and start there. Good Luck