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Next step - see the oncologist

recce101's picture
recce101
Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2006

I got home from the hospital this past Monday, Sep. 4, after exploratory surgery and a diagnosis of Stage IV lung cancer. Will have an initial appointment with the oncologist next Tuesday, Sep. 12. I'm working up a list of questions for that session -- got some good ideas from the web page of ernrol -- and would appreciate more suggestions from anyone. The oncologist we chose has an excellent reputation for working WITH the patient and was highly recommended by several friends who have successfully battled cancer. Please see my recce101 web page for background. Thanks!

kaitek
Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

I answered a similar question posed by jamilou on a thread that is on page 2. Since then, I don't think I have anything more to add.

You should ask anything that you may be curious about. Aging of the cancer cells (are they mature or immature). Spread of cancer to which other parts. Treatment options.

If you're prepared with the research on the latest treatments (e.g., thermal ablation), you might want to ask the oncologist if you're a good candidate for that type of treatment. There are some interesting techniques that aren't invasive and poses no harm to healthy cells. But as a late stage cancer patient, many of them may not be suitable for you. Nevertheless, you should ask.

Good luck!

recce101's picture
recce101
Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2006

Thanks, kaitek. I printed out the other response you mentioned.

Ned

kaitek
Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

Hey Ned,

I forgot exactly all the questions I suggested earlier, but in thinking about the meetings and talks I had with my mom's oncologist and a nurse practioner who aided in her surgery, I appreciated learning certain aspects about her cancer - if not just for awareness.

1. Size of the tumor and all the locations. I read someone's (whom the name escapes me) account of her cancer and she noted exactly how many lymph nodes were affected. We weren't told that. I'm not sure it is countable. I may ask that when my mom's treatments are over when I may want to know more details of what she had to fight against.

2. The age of the cancerous cells. Of course, it is the oncologist's opinion and estimation of the age. But it was important information since it let us know how long my mom had the cancer (though it may take years to develop). Most relevant is that the oncologist said that because the cancer cells were immature, they were susceptible and extremely sensitive to chemo. The oncologist wasn't particularly encouraging or positive in our initial meeting (because he is strictly clinical and factual), so I took that revelation as the one statement I could hang our hopes on.

3. Radiation or not. I read a lot of people who undergo both radiation and chemo. When I had asked my mom's oncologist, he thought radiation would be too damaging. I know for a fact without the evidence of a CT scan that chemo alone has been working for my mom. Practically all her physical disabilities from the cancer early on have vanished or waned.

I would be curious if you had the EGFR mutation. That can be tested for. For me, knowing if my mom has the mutation may give more hope that there are other effective drugs taking advantage of that mutation. But as I've mentioned before, not having the EGFR mutation shouldn't conversely mean that recovery is impossible. That was what my mom's thoracic surgeon stressed to us.

There are a lot of new therapies that attack the vulnerabilities of cancer cells, such as to heat. They appear to be free of side effects. But they seem more viable for early cancers than late ones. You should nevertheless read up the latest cancer news on the University of Florida Shand Cancer Center site or other sites that post cancer news. It's quite interesting the drugs that are effective for certain people and in what combinations.

Hope your meeting goes well.

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

Ned-- I will pray for you as you enter treatment, and wish you the very best. We're glad to have you here-- hope we will help you along the way!

karenlee3sons
Posts: 35
Joined: Apr 2002

Please be positive and hopeful. I am an 8 yr stage 4 lung cancer survivor! I had a lobectomy, chemo and radiation. Hang in there. Karen

recce101's picture
recce101
Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2006

We met with the medical oncologist on Tuesday, September 12. A good, positive meeting. No discussion of "how many months with/without treatment" or "what are my chances," but a straightforward conversation about the best treatment for me at this time. The plan is to consult with the radiation oncologist and a nurse who specializes in chemo side effects while the incision continues to heal, then toward the end of September start chemo with carboplatin and taxol initially, possibly adding avastin on the second cycle.

PLEASE NOTE: Unfortunately this CSN website does not respond well in my location, and although I have a cable internet connection, the wait for every page change seems interminable. I've found the Lung Cancer Support Community site at lchelp.org to be very snappy and will be doing my future updates and postings there. Please look me up at LCSC -- same recce101 username. Thanks!

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