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Metastasis to spine

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

Does anyone here have experience with lung cancer metastasis to the spine?

My Mom is no longer considered a stable patient-- her malignant pleural effusion has returned (as of late May), and we found out this week that her most recent PET scan revealed metastasis to her spine.

I'm a wreck. I'm not even sure I'll want to hear what anyone has to tell me at this point.

tfrost
Posts: 20
Joined: Jun 2006

My dad has metastasis to his spine. It is all the way up to his neck and down to his lower back. His oncologist is not concerned with it. Don't be discouraged. There are several stages of treatment. Just because the first combination did not work does not mean the second one won't. My dad's doctor told us he has a 50/50 chance. I toke the attitude that my dad can be beat this. Part of the reason is because of the encouragement people (you included :)) gave me in the first place. Try to check into clinical trials. My dad would be a candidate for several, but he developed a pulmonary embolism after surgery.
I will add you to my prayers.

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

Hi-- thank you for your reply. I'm having trouble following my own advice right now-- I'm very discouraged. I hate having to IGNORE information in order to get through my day, but essentially, that's what I'm having to do. The more I think about things, the more panicky I get.

When did your dad find out about the spinal metastasis? How long has it been? And does he have symptoms? So far, my Mom doesn't have any (spine related, that is).

Thank you for the prayers, and I also have your Dad in mine.

tfrost
Posts: 20
Joined: Jun 2006

My dad never had any symptoms of the lung cancer period. I think that is why we were so devastated. He has a hard time getting comfortable and has started to sleep in the recliner instead of his bed. Sometimes he feels pain in his back, but the pain medication seems to be handling that. They gave him a treatment of Zometa before his first round of chemo. It is supposed to strengthen the bones. Other than that, the doctor says the tumors will shrink (hopefully) and then he will be back up and around.
Keep us updated on your mom's treatment. I am curious as to what works for her.

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

I went to the doctor with Mom today. There will be no change in her treatment plan; she will
stay on Alimta for another 4 treatments. Spot on her spine is "small" and not "diffuse" (all up and down spinal cord). Since she's asymptomatic (no pain, no numbness), they will not radiate now. Radiation could damage her bone marrow (which is where red and white blood cells are manufactured), and if her blood counts are decimated, she can't have chemo.

Mom "failed" first line chemo with Taxol and carboplatin. Nothing happened (except that she stayed stable, which was a blessing, but her tumors did not shrink). The Alimta is 2nd line treatment.

Chemo addresses the entire body; radiation does not-- it only addresses a localized area. So it's better for Mom to continue with whole-body chemo rather than limited area radiation for an asymptomatic area.

This all makes sense, but is still scary. And we actually heard, "the spot on your spine may have been there before, but possibly not visible due to the fluid that was accumulated around your lung at that time (referring to her 12/22/05 PET scan)".

So---- HAS it spread, or not? Hard to know.

I'll keep you posted. I'm glad that it sounds like your Dad is comfortable and doing pretty well, all in all. Everyone said Alimta would be much more easily tolerated than the carboplatin and Taxol, but my Mom has NOT found that to be the case. The Alimta is really making her feel horrid, and the sickness lasts for 10 days after each treatment! Ick.

My Mom does need pain medication each day, but overall, is doing quite well all things considered. I do take comfort in that!

tfrost
Posts: 20
Joined: Jun 2006

That nausea is horrible. My dad gets so mad after his treatments because I nag him to eat and drink. His original spots showed up on his Pet Scan, but by the time he had his biopsy, they had spread to his neck as well. We originally got a second opinion and that doctor told us if he was experiencing pain in his back, they could do a spot radiation that would not decrease his count. His Hemoglobin is at 12.5 and the doctor was happy about that, but if it goes to 10 he needs to go on Procrit.

My Dad is doing the Gemzar/Carbo. If he doesn't respond to that, there is a clinical trial on Avastin, which have produced wonderful results that my dad will be eligible for as long as his PE has dissolved. If you don't mind me asking, what area are you from. I live in Poland, Ohio..
It is a suburb of Youngstown. We got our second opinion from the Cleveland Clinic. That is where he will go for the clinical trials, if he needs to.

He goes for a chest X-Ray next week so we are keeping our fingers crossed.
If your Mom is nausea, my dad took Emend and dexamethasone which did wonders for him this time.
Please keep us updated on your mom.

lexxi's picture
lexxi
Posts: 2
Joined: Jul 2006

hi my mom just got diagnosed with lung and she has 3 spots on ehr spine and they say they cant remove it bc its in her bone so they are going to give her chemo and radiation i just went to the kidney doc with her today and he said that the main thing is that for her to stay strong and they want to keep her kidney transplant going which he is hopeful of.so i kinda know what u r going through although im at the beginning I am very sorry to here about your mom just dont give up!! its the worst thing a child can go through I have nevr felt this way before I love my mom and we are very close I just want her to make it through this im just worried bc of where it is and i dont know what else to think!! U can email me at lexy312003@yahoo.com if u would like Take care!! I think we should talk bc our moms have the same thing.

kaitek
Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

Hi reinstones1,

I forgot to tell you that I'm pulling for your mom, as well, so I'm sending you and your mom my best wishes, too. We can lean on each other since our mothers' cases seem so similar. I can completely feel for emotions as I often go through spurts of optimism and fear. I was an emotional wreck for the first few days the thoracic surgeon confirmed the cancer he predicted from the PET scans. All those moments of relief with the first pulmonologist were for naught as he kept reporting the lab results coming out clean. And he didn't seem too alarmed it could have been cancer (in contrast to the ER doctors who expressed their concerns of the lung lesions seen on the X-rays). If not for the return of the fluids, we would have waited for who knows what.

From my impression of what I've read, it seems metastasis to the bone is one of the "easier" cancer hot spots. Perhaps maybe because it's not one of the organs that keep us functioning. Pain may be the primary concern, which likely can be managed with pain medication. My mother doesn't seem overly bothered by any pain in her pelvis, where the cancer has spread. She has pain in her foot. I don't understand the cause for the pain there, though she has varicose veins.

Keep the faith, reinstones1!

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