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Questions to Ask

jamilou's picture
jamilou
Posts: 201
Joined: Mar 2005

My Father-in-law has been diagnosed with Stage I lung cancer. He will have surgery tomorrow to remove the bottom lobe on his right lung. They will also check his lymph nodes. I have been reading over the discussions on this site and have not seen any discussions on what to ask after the surgery. Can anyone help me with a list of questions. The only questions I know to ask is, Are the nodes clear and was the tumor close to the lining. Thanks for your help!
Jami

kaitek
Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

First, you're in luck that your father-in-law's cancer was caught early. The odds are better for most cancers detected in the early stages.

On the questions, you may ask what treatment the doctors have in plan for your father-in-law beyond the surgery. Will there be chemotherapy? How frequent will the therapy be? And how much will there be? What are the side effects? Is there any rehabilitation exercise for the surgery recovery? (For instance, my mother has two breathing devices to help keep her lungs expanded.) What pain medication will he be given and what are their side effects? With late stage cancer, it's said there is always a chance for recurrence. As your father-in-law has early stage lung cancer, you may ask if there is a chance the cancer may return should he be in remission.

There is a discussion about chemoresistance testing of the cancerous cells, where different chemo drugs can be tested on those cancer cells to see how responsive they are. Since your father-in-law will have a lobectomy, the surgeon will no doubt be able to remove a large enough mass for sampling in the chemoresistance test. I would definitely opt for that. It may spare your father-in-law any trial-and-error plan of attack. Find the most effective chemo drugs in the lab and apply that on him.

You may also want to ask if there is anything your father-in-law can do to supplement or enhance the medical treatments (i.e., diet, etc.). I'd love to hear the doctor's advice.

I can tell you from my conversation with a nurse practioner working in concert with a thoracic surgeon that when portions of the lung are removed, the remaining lung can compensate for the missing parts.

If I can think of anything more, I'll share them. One thing I absolutely avoided was the so-called averages. I don't want any predictions on life expectations. That, to me, is a defeatist attitude. Nevertheless, if your father-in-law's doctor is anything like my mother's, he'll still tell you how effective the chemo combinations are.

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