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Is this a usual problem with chemo?

Posts: 33
Joined: Feb 2004

I'm new at this so please bear with me. In Nov. 2003 my husband was diagnosed with a rare form of nasal/sinus cancer( the Dr.s didn't even give it a long fancy name:) He was treated with radiation & chemo and in June 2004, the tumor was gone.
This past March , a routine pet scan detected a tumor about 1/2 inch in diameter in his lung. Our oncologist and everyone else who looks at the results keep saying it's so small and don't seem particularly alarmed. My husband won't ask what kind of tumor is is-- he doesn't want to know and of course the privacy laws won't let anyone tell me. He's has started chemo again ( carboplatim & Gemzar)
The problem is that, he had his 1st treatment on April 1 and has not been able to have any since. His blood cell counts have been too low, so now they want to do a transfusion on Monday and try again on Friday.
Is this unusual? To me, anything involving blood and the lungs is really scary.
I 'm a type A kind of person and this just sitting around doing nothing is driving me crazy.

Thanks for letting me vent.

Donnamk1's picture
Posts: 5
Joined: Feb 2005

hello so sorry to hear about your husband i know how scarey it is . I had my upper left lobe (lung) removed and currently on chemo i also have already lost my younger brother and dad to lung cancer so trust me i do know how scared you are and should be for your husband but to give you some hope it sounds like the docters are right on top of things the tumor is very small and if it has not left the lung i would say he is stage 1 and that is really good and it is quite normal for the blood tranfusion real common in a lot of cases so really you can relax and try to remain calm so you can help your husband get thru this. hope this helps Donna

Plymouthean's picture
Posts: 264
Joined: Jan 2004

I'm a lung cancer survivor, 3 1/2 years out from surgery. Originally diagnosed as stage 3b, I was inoperable and incurable. Like everyone else on this website, I've been there, and we're all here to listen to others and to help if we can. Don't worry about "venting". It's healthy, and we encourage it. I agree with Donna. The doctors seem to have things under control at this point. The need for a transfusion could be due to a previously undetected case of anemia, made worse by the chemo treatment. That's a guess, but my point is that sometimes it takes a little while to get into the proper course of treatment. Quite commonly, the doctors will watch a spot (tumor, shadow, etc.) for three to six months until they are sure what they are dealing with. If the spot doesn't grow, that's good. Cancer doesn't just sit there - it grows. The fact that the "spot" is small is a good thing. It means that, whatever it is, especially if it is cancer, it has been detected early. I understand the privacy laws, but I'm curious as to why, as his wife, you can't find out any information. Do you go to the doctor visits with him? Usually, they encourage a spouse, family member or friend to accompany the patient to the appointment. My wife hardly ever missed one, and she was able to get the information we needed. As my treatment progressed, my memory wasn't the best, to put it mildly. If she wasn't able to make it, we had a friend accompany me, with a list of questions. Whoever was with me sat right in on the examinations, etc. I recently visited my sister in Florida, who had cancer. I went to her doctor's appointment, and sat through chemotherapy with her, and the staff was happy to discuss her case with me. The threat of cancer can bring on the worst case of the "what if's". As a type A, you are especially vulnerable. Well, "what if" it's not cancer? There are two ways to look at it, and the best way is to be positive. I'll keep you both in my prayers, and please keep us posted. Ernie

Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2005

If you were diagnosed as a 3B, what did they do as treatment that you are still going strong at 3.5 yrs. I had top half of left lung removed with staging at 1B and took Carbo Taxol for 4 sessions as a preventative. My first check-up after Chemo showed many small nodules in both lungs, biopsy confirmed cancer had metasticized. I'm now on Tarceva to hopefully keep it from growing, will never be gone and outlook for the Tarceva working a long time is not good. Any ideas? I have never been a smoker and am 56 yrs. old

Posts: 1560
Joined: May 2006


You may want to consider contacting the American Cancer Society's National Cancer Information Center. Cancer Information Specialists are available 24 hours a day and may be able to assist you with your questions. They can be reached at 1-800-227-2345 or by clicking on the "Contact ACS" link at the top of the page.

Take care and be well,

CSN Dana

Plymouthean's picture
Posts: 264
Joined: Jan 2004

I was treated with four rounds of Cisplatin and Etopiside, three weeks apart, and 40 radiation treatments, administered daily, 5 days/week for 8 weeks. After five months, I had surgery to remove the tumor (which had shrunk by 75%) and the upper 40% of my lung. One month post surgery, I had 10 radiation treatments, and then began a second course of chemo, Carboplatin and Taxol, (one dose weekly) which lasted three months. Most recent checkup on 4/8/05 - still clear of cancer.

Posts: 12
Joined: Sep 2005

Venting is good!!! I too was on the Gemzar/carboplatin chemo treatment. I did fairly well but did have to have 2 blood transfusions during the 12 weeks that I was getting chemo. I also had one weekend where I had to stay home and be very careful because my white count was so low that they were worrying about me getting any kind of infection or even getting cut, falling, etc. However, I made it through and I'm now almost 2 years cancer-free. I wish you and your husband all the best in the world and please, keep venting and talking and praying and smiling and living!!!

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