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Help for Lung Cancer

Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2007

Dear All

Last two weeks, my 73-year-old mother was proved that she was suffering from non-small cell Lung Cancer at 3-4 level. There was no symptom. Doctor adviced that my mother should take X scan (PET) for checking more details first. (ie. to check where cancer spreads) After that, Targeted Therapy will be taken.

At this stage,
1. what I can do?
2. is there any other method to cure?
3. I read a Magazine called "Biowave" that states "Cancer is no longer a Mortal Disease". According to latest development, can cancer be totally cured?

Anyone can help!!



Posts: 35
Joined: Apr 2002

Hi, I am an 8 1/2 year 64 year old lung cancer survivor and had stage 3-4 with node involvement. I had chemo, radiation and a lobectomy. (Removal of the lobe where the tumor was). Here I am, no sign since the surgery or treatment of a recurrence. My chemo was taxol, carboplatin and zofran for nausea. My oncologist wanted to treat it as aggresively as possible and I am grateful he did. Always get a second opinion and consult with a major cancer center in your area. Please be as optimistic as you can, I strongly believe mental attitude plays a large role in recovery. Good luck. Karen

Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006


What you can do is support your mother in any way you can. Get informed. Help her with her appointments. Keep her company and be supportive.

Most, if not all, oncologists will tell you that when lung cancer has metastasized, the cancer becomes incurable. Elizabeth Edwards and Tony Snow are the two prominent reminders of that. I will confess that before news about them, I accepted the incurable prognosis as a constant risk that there could be a recurrence, but actually believing that when the cancer cells are beaten, we would be in the clear. I don't want to be negative, but I think it's important to be realistic, too. The possibility of recurrence will probably always hang in the background, and it shouldn't ever be dismissed.

I've read of breast cancer survivors who have been cancer-free for many years (some over 10 years), and the cancer would return. And it would be a cycle of that with beating the cancer and be in remission but stricken with cancerous cells again. I don't know if breast cancer is more likely for recurrence than say, lung cancer. I've been thinking about that a lot with Edwards and Snow. Late stage cancer (especially of stage 4 that has spread beyond the general original site, e.g., chest wall for lung cancer) becomes a chronic disease to be managed throughout the patient's life. I'm thinking that diet will be an important factor to reduce the chance of recurrence (though there are survivors who will attest that they've been cancer-free with no particular dietary regimen).

The optimism is that newer and more effective drugs are developed to attack cancer cells differently, as with the targeted therapies. Off the top of my head, I know of Tarceva, which blocks a growth receptor in cancer cells, and Avastin, which prevents the formation of new blood vessels that cancer cells are dependent on for multiplication. I'm vaguely aware of another targeted drug in Eribulux (I know the spelling is off).

The more researchers learn about the genetic makeup of cancer cells and their metabolism, the closer we may someday come to a cure. It is a challenge because cancer isn't just one disease. Each cancer type is a wholly different disease. As you know, even within lung cancer, there are non-small cell, small cell, squamous, etc. Each of those has to be treated differently.

Survivors such as Karenlee3sons are an inspiration with her 8.5 years of remission. But I'm curious, is there anyone diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer with metastasis outside of the chest wall who has avoided recurrence?

Anyway, to let you know, my 77 year-old mom was diagnosed with stage 4 NSCLC with metastasis to the bone, lymph nodes and pleurae. She underwent initially Taxol and Carboplatin for 7 months, and is now on Taxol/Carbo/Avastin with Avastin infused every 3 weeks. She's been tolerating the chemo relatively well. Her hair has even grown back in recent because the dosage of Taxol had been reduced from 160 mg to 100. The cancer cells have been wiped out in her hip bone and lymph nodes. The presence in the right lobe and pleurae has been shrunk significantly.

I echo Karen3leesons a positive outlook is important to recovery, if anything at the very least for mental and emotional health. Best of luck to your mom.

Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2007

Dear Karen and kaitek

Thank you very much for your help.
Both of you spend your valuable time to write in Forum. Thank you.

Dear Karen, are you Chinese? As I see your name showing lee that is surname of Chinese, right? I come from Hong Kong. Where you come from?

I think that taking operation (ie. removal of lobe) is easy to be cured. But it depends on the patient s situation. E.g. patient is not suitable as dangerous for too old or other reasons. But there is still a chance to have recurrence. For my mother s case, as per doctor s information, she is not suitable. As she has high blood pressure, apoplexy (now she can walk), and previous operation of leg for brittle bone disease (osteoporosis).

I think that your doctor is very good. I do not know where and who is the best in Hong Kong. I am now looking for.

Yes, always in optimistic attitude and positive mind. Never give up and good luck!

Dear kaitek

Thank you for your advices. I will try my very best to let my mother to recover.
This morning, my mother tells me that she had difficult to breath and felt pain in her right hand as taking heavy bowl of water. I send her to hospital immediately. It was found that she had water in her lung again. She is now in hospital for taking water from her lung.

I am waiting for the report of X scan (our doctor will book) on 10 April, 07 (ie. after long holidays). After the report generated, Targeted Therapy will be taken. I am afraid that it is too late for taking medicine. I am now considering whether she takes Targeted Therapy first or not. It was because she already was approved as Lung Cancer last two weeks. Is there any difference taking Targeted Therapy first?
If she takes medicine early, cancer will not metastasize.

Thank you for mentioning the name of medicine (Tarceva, Avastin and Erbitux). Do you know what is Iressa? Also, I get information from website that Alimta is very good (less ill effects). Does it function?

We are waiting for the excellent medicine. One day, we may treat cancer as same as a cold. It was heard in SARS period in Hong Kong that some people boiled vinegar for sterilizing in the air. Also, in Chinese traditional, after a baby is born by a woman, boiling pig leg meat with eggs and vinegar can recover the linkage of something or other important vitamins. At the same time, boiling vinegar can sterilize in the air and the wound (if any) in production can be cured faster. By applying this evidence or thinking way, boiling vinegar maybe help to control lung cancer. From the point of view of scientists, by extracting the chemical factors from vinegar, DNA of patient can be replaced. The above is just my imagination.

On the other hand, it is heard that scientists are testing blood that is in blood vessel between newly born baby and mother. This blood can replace DNA and duplicates cells.

Besides, Chinese medicine, Ganoderma Sporo-Pollen (Fully Wall-broken), can control cancer. I am not sure that it is functioning.

We must raise more funds for Researchers to do more researches for cancer. We may invite millionaire for funding (e.g. Bill Gates in USA, Li Ka Shing in HK).

Before my mother s case, I never think about cancer. Previously, cancer must be out of my dictionary. Now, healthy is very very important.

I am so sorry to hear that your mother is suffering from lung cancer.
Please do not give up. Good luck.


Posts: 156
Joined: Aug 2006

Hi lawrencedotcom,

It's often repetitive giving the same advice and it seems as if I'm talking to myself, such that I've thought many times of leaving, but when I can be of help to people such as yourself, it makes it worthwhile and gratifying. I needed guidance early on and found some here.

Let me address your further concerns. Your mom appears to have fluids in her lung linings (what is called pleural effusion) from the inflammation. As the linings become full, the fluids compress on her lungs and make it difficult and labored to breath. That will impact a lot on her energy level, as well. Don't take your mom's initial condition and symptoms to be any indication of how well she can recover.

The doctors will have to remedy the fluids in the lungs either by a surgical procedure called pleurodesis (again my spelling may be off) or a drainage catheter. The first involves injecting talc between the linings to irritate them enough to seal together tightly, closing off the gap for any fluids to build up. That will greatly relieve your mom's ability to breath and get around. The procedure is not sure-fire but it may buy your mom enough time for the cancer cells in the linings to be destroyed during therapy.

It is NOT too late for the medicine. Never get into that mindset or resignation. Keep fighting. My mom was 76 when she was diagnosed with stage 4 NSCLC with metastasis as far to her hip bone. Despite her age, she has been tolerating chemo very well. No nausea at all. The other side effects are manageable and aren't debilitating.

I would not worry about beginning with targeted therapy. Yes, Tarceva is typically reserved as a second-line treatment but clinical studies have found that for older people, it may be a good first line option. And if the patient has the EGFR mutation, s/he would be perfect for Tarceva. You should definitely have her doctor test her for the EGFR mutation. Your mom is Asian. If she has never smoked in her life, she makes an even better candidate for Tarceva.

Though I've heard of patients taking only Tarceva, oftentimes, therapy is best when in combination with other drugs in a cocktail of weapons against the cancer cells. If one cancer cell is immune to one drug, it may not be against another. Think of it as added insurance. If your mom can tolerate chemo (try one round), ask for it to be combined with whatever targeted drug your mom will be on. I doubt, though, she could be put on Avastin since she has high blood pressure. Avastin spikes up the blood pressure, though it does gradually come back down. For those whose blood pressure remains high, they can prescribe a blood pressure medication.

Iressa was supposed to work like Tarceva but in studies (I believe in Japan), they found that the drug wasn't working, so it has been pulled off the market. Like Tarceva, Iressa worked best on certain types of people with a gene mutation. The only people getting Iressa are those who were already prescribed the medicine. New patients cannot be put on Iressa.

I don't know much about Alimta. The mother of one member, Reinstones1, was on it. But it wasn't effective with her.

You said that your mother has brittle bones. I'm thinking that she should take calcium pills in combination with vitamin D (D3 form and not D2). The vitamin D will help the absorption of calcium. From Elizabeth Edwards' cancer case, I've learned they are strengthening her bones with either hormones or medicine to make the bones less resistant to the cancer cells setting up residence.

Also, vitamin D is alleged to be a cancer fighter. Researchers made that finding from epidemiological studies though, meaning they made a correlation of those in sunny regions having less incidences of cancers and better survival rates. That kind of study is shaky because there could be other factors at work. But you can decide on your own. Either way, vitamin D3 with calcium could help strengthen your mother's bones.

Chinese women have a prominent rate of contracting lung cancer despite not smoking. Some researchers think it may be from the high heating of cooking oils. Be sure your mom is kept from breathing any secondary cigarette smoke and fumes from cooking oils (have someone else cook, open the windows and get a powerful range hood - the appliance that pulls cooking vapors from the air and vents them to the outdoors). I would also keep her from burning incense (I've read somewhere awhile back that incense may be unhealthy to the lungs.)

You're in Hong Kong, so must have access to excellent herbalist. You can check out one and work with your mom's oncologist for a complementary plan. I have heard good things about the Chinese herb, astragulus.

If you would like to discuss anything further, you're welcome to private message/email me by clicking on the envelope button below my message.

Posts: 3
Joined: Apr 2007

Dear kaitek

I send email to you yesterday.

Please note.


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