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Treatment for NSCLC Stage Ia

Posts: 2
Joined: Dec 2005

My mother has just been diagnosed with non-small cell adenocarcinoma stage Ia. Originally, her doctor said surgery was the treatment of choice. Now he wants her to do chemo and has, in fact, started her on her first cycle. Her tumor is contained in the lung and is only 1.5 cm. I believe it is in a place where it could be removed by surgery and all of my web research indicates surgery is her best bet. I believe the doctor's decision is motivated by the fact that she has no insurance. Does anyone know whether or not surgery is the best option and if so, are there are any financial resources available for someone in her situation? Also, how much does the surgery cost?

Posts: 6
Joined: Dec 2005

Many factors must be considered. Having said that, maybe a little chemo followed by removal.
In fact, I would insist on this treatment plan!!!
I believe the American Cancer Society may be able to help with referrals for those with no insurance coverage.

Plymouthean's picture
Posts: 264
Joined: Jan 2004

Hi. I'm a survivor of nsclc, stage 3. I had chemo and radiation, followed by surgery to remove 40% of my right lung. I believe that you may be wrong about the doctor's decision for treatment, based on the lack of insurance. Apparently you feel that surgery would be more expensive than chemo. My surgery cost $27,000, including the surgeon and hospital. My chemo costs, over six months, were close to $90,000. Based on my experience, I doubt if the doctor made his decision based on money. I believe that financial assitance is available. Search the American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute websites. My prayers and best wishes to you and your mother.

Posts: 2
Joined: Dec 2005

Thanks so much to those who replied. We now have a surgeon in the mix so it appears the insurance is not an issue. We were told after my mom had her bone scan and MRI that the cancer had not metastasized. Thus, we assumed all the necessary tests had been completed. In fact, my mom still needs a PET Scan and a lymph node biopsy. Apparently, she will have surgery, even if there is lymph node involvement, so long as the cancer has not spread anywhere else.

Thanks again for your help.

Posts: 1560
Joined: May 2006

Get surgery as soon as possible, especially if the cancer has not yet spread to the lymph nodes. Surgery is the best option with almost 100% survival! You can get statistics on pubmed.gov website. Type in cancer survival statistics and you will be able to read abstracts of several articles that your local university medical library may have if you wish to get the full articles. Some of those articles may also be available free on-line.

I am a 3-year survivor of lung adenocarcinoma. I had only one tumor approximately 2.5 cm in the lower right lobe. The right lobe was completely removed within 2 weeks of my diagnosis. I have been cancer free ever since.

Just out of curiosity, how old is your mother? Do you know if she was exposed to any mold at work or at home particularly to air conditioning unit with water chilled pipes where the air is re-circulated from the room over these pipes and comes out of vents near the walls? Certain types of mold and mycotoxins have been known to cause lung adenocarcinoma. Also, does she live in a house with a basement with mold? Please keep us posted on the results of chemo treatment.

Posts: 19
Joined: Oct 2005

Hi...I was a NSCLC Stage 1b...i had the lower right lobe remoeved and just went through my first chemo treatment today, 4 mos post op. Lots of things matter when it come to chemo. Even though my mass was stage 1, it was a grade b becase it lay across blood vessels and cancer travels that route. My mass was completely removed, but chemo was still an optiom for microscopic spilage. God Bless and good luck

Posts: 30
Joined: Jan 2006

I had stage 1 A nsclc and recently had surgery to remove my right upper lobe. Unless the tumor is close to a critical structue or your mother is in poor health or has insufficient lung capacity ,surgery is the treatment of choice followed by adjuvant chemo. Time however is important so I would push for the surgery without delay.

MadelynJoe's picture
Posts: 96
Joined: Sep 2003

I am a Stage IA LC survivor (7 months). I was diagnosed during a routine physical on 5/9/05, had lower R lobe removed on 6/6/05, then did adjuvant chemo (that's when you have chemo even though no further traces of cancer are detectible in the body).

I would encourage your Mother to have surgery and then adjuvant chemo. Her tumor is even smaller than mine was. Also, it is VERY possible to cure early stage cancer and have an 85% chance of a normal lifespan.

Try to stay calm, keep the faith, and get your Mother to an oncologist NOW. If you work with the Drs. and/or social services agencies, you can get treatment despite lack of health insurance.

Best regards, Madelyn

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