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Chemo/No Chemo ??? Any Comments/Suggestions Welcomed

papersau
Posts: 6
Joined: Mar 2006

Hello,

I posted several months ago about my mother's tumor in her upper right lung. The surgeon was happy that he removed the tumor (approximately 2.5cm, adenocarcinoma) and that all the surrounding lymph nodes were clear. His only concern was that it was quite close to the lining of the lung..which was a bit puckered. Therefore, he has recommended treatment with chemo to follow once she recovered from her surgery....he mentioned the latest study showed that there was less chance of reoccurrence.

She met with her oncologist a few weeks ago, who said she just came back from a conference where the concluded that people in her case should NOT undergo chemo treatment. The oncologist left the decision in her hands and now she is scheduled for her first treatment later on this week.

Does anyone have an opinion on this situation? Your comments are much appreciated. It's a very big decision and your advice is helpful.

Regards,

Daughter of Lung Cancer Patient

reinstones1's picture
reinstones1
Posts: 92
Joined: Feb 2006

I'm not a doctor, and I hestitate to contradict what she's being told by her oncologist, BUT-- since you're asking for OPINIONS, here's mine.

My mother was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma with malignant pleural effusion in 12/05 (also in her right lung). The malignant pleural effusion makes her inoperable, because once the cancer has spread to the lining of the lung/chest wall, a surgeon can't get a "clear margin" (clear = cancer free).

Pleural effusion often occurs after the cancer has spread to the lining of the lung-- the cancer cells produce fluid that fills up the pleural space between the lung and the chest wall. This accumulated fluid compresses the lung and makes breathing extremely difficult, as the lung cannot fully expand.

My mother went into the hospital in January to have pleurodesis performed with talc and doxycycline (not pleasant), to seal up the pleural space in an attempt to stop the fluid from accumulating. This worked (or at least kept the problem at bay) for about 5 months. Her first round of chemo ended in mid-May 2006, and by the end of the month her fluid was back. She had a thoracentesis to remove the fluid on 6/2, and is going to need another one this week.

If it were me, seeing what my Mom has gone through, I would do anything to try to stop the cancer from spreading to the lining of her lung. I so badly wish that my mother's cancer had been caught when it was still at the operable stage. The fact that it spread to the lining of her lung and caused the pleural effusion changed EVERYTHING for us.

Of course, there are no guarantees at all, even when a patient opts for chemo, but if the surgeon said it looked "puckered", that would appear to suggest that perhaps there was some early possibly cancerous involvement with the lining?

Pleural effusion (malignant or not) is not a pleasant situation. It, more than the tumors in my Mom's lung, have negatively impacted my mother's life. The tumors have been stable since she underwent chemo. The pleural effusion is a nasty, invasive, recurring problem that won't go away.

Lung cancer is so often terribly aggressive-- knowing what I know now from my Mom's experience, I'd opt for the chemo. I'd want to fight with everything available to me.

Of course, it's your mother's decision-- if she's on the fence, then you might be able to help her by presenting some ideas or alternate scenarios, but if she's made up her mind not to do it, don't push.

I wish you and your mother the very best.

Plymouthean's picture
Plymouthean
Posts: 264
Joined: Jan 2004

I had post-op chemo and radiation as a preventive measure. Neither treatment had any side effects. In my opinion, like Reinstones1, I would say go with the chemo.

dreamer925
Posts: 19
Joined: Oct 2005

Hi. I too adenocarcinoma, approx 2 cmm in my lower right lung. Like your mother, my lymph nodes were clear and they removed the mass. It was near the lining which they don't like because it can travel via the blood stream. I opted for chemo because I felt if it improved the chance of cancer not returning even by 1 %, then it was worth it. I did 4 treatments of taxol and carboplatin and finished 3/13. I did fine with it, I did not get sick, just tired and my hair feel out. I say whatever you can do to fight this, fight it.
God Bless you.

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