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42 and diagnosed with lung cancer

Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2007

Hello all! I am 42 and just had my left lung removed due to a 6cm mass (Non small cell) and 2 affected lymph nodes. There is also a 5mm lesion on my brain which, most likely is cancer, but hasnt been biopsied yet. Due to my age, my docs want to treat fairly aggressively. but I dont want to get in over my head. If given choices of chemo meds, what should I be cautious of if treated aggressively? Thank you all

CinciRick's picture
Posts: 23
Joined: Apr 2007

Hi Rock44,
It is sad to hear about your condition and you have my sympathy and hope that you have good responses from your treatment. I don't know enough about your specific condition and am not qualified to give you advice about the different treatments but I can give you some generic advice.

ADVICE TIP NUMBER 1 = Get a second opinion.
My family doctor put me in the hospital for tests.
When I was diagnosed with cancer I was assigned an oncologist. I still think this is a strange way of doing things. I was not asked to chose from a list of available oncologists or given any options such as male, female, old, young, experienced specialized religious or even if the Oncologist had a treatment center close to where I live.
So I let my assigned oncologist do his thing and come up with a treatment plan.

As soon as that was done I had the original hospital lab in Cincinati ship a piece of the original biopsy sample, my reports, and images on CD sent to Cleveland Clinic and had 2 different oncologists there re-evaluate my condition and see if they agreed with the treatment plan chosen by my current oncologist. The good news was that they did approve of his treatment plan and choice of chemo drugs. Bad news was that at the first sign of Lung Cancer my original Oncologist stopped testing and started with his standard Lung Cancer treatment program. The Doctors from Cleveland clinic added another MRI and PET/CT and discovered more tumors in the lung, lymph nodes and 2 spots in my spine.

For the next few weeks I talked to other patients to see what they thought of their Oncologist and asked several oncology nurses from different hospitals who would they see if they had cancer. Then I made my choice and told the original Oncology center where to send my records and let them know I would not be coming back. No one asks why and no ones feelings are hurt. It is common to get a 2nd or third opinion and most insurance companies will pay for it.

So get a second opinion and don't be afraid to change doctors. If you are lucky you and your oncologist will be working together for years in your battle against cancer.

Oncologists have chosen a very difficult and non-clamouous career. There is so much more to their job than choosing betwen surgery, radiation or picking a chemo drug. You and your ONC will be batteling other things that might occur such as anxiety, depresion, nausea, fatigue, and chemobrain.

I have confidence and a good relationship with my current ONC and I have long ago bypassed the average life expantancy for someone with my original diagnosis, but I just finished a little book I picked up at a local bookstore. I think it was a Barnes & Noble. The book is titled "There's No Place Like Hope" by Vickie Girard. I have spent hundreds of dollars on cancer related books, most of them about what I can do as a patient to help through diet, food preparation, and vitamins. After my research I would ask my ONC before making any changes to my diet or vitamin plan. It is interesting what you can find out. Foods such as grapefruit are good for healthy people but if you are on any kind of drugs you need to do a little google research. I found 3 of the drugs I am taking can be adversly effected by grapefruit. It reacts with so many different drugs that there are several web sites that are dedicated to nothing but grapefruit drug interactios.

Sorry but I got off subject. After spending hundreds on cancer books I would recommend you start with this little book for $7.49 The author Vickie Girard fought cancer for 16 years so she knows a lot more about this than you or I.

Sorry for rambling on so long. Go out today and get this book. You will not be sorry.

Cinci Rick

Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

Great advice! Even if you absolutely love your current oncologist, it will mean a lot for your own piece of mind to get a second opinion. Sometimes your own insurance company offers free second opinion services. When I had my first lung biopsy (a VATS procedure), they thought I had stage 4 breast cancer in the middle lobe of the right lung. They backed out and stitched me up. A week later the surgeon called to say that further gene assays (sp?) indicated that it was really lung cancer and we needed to remove the whole lobe. Now, I trusted the guy, but take out the middle of my lung? I didn't even know the thing had 3 parts on the right! I found a place on the net at the U. of Maryland that offered expert opinions. I stuck in my question about what was the gold standard and lo and behold the expert answered in the next 48 hours. He agreed with my surgeon and I managed to go into surgery mostly relaxed. At least I knew that I was doing the best I could to fight this disease and that's all anyone can do. Lung cancer is an aggressive disease. We need to be aggressive right back. The most aggressive treatment doesn't mean the one that makes you the most miserable. It just means the one that will whip the cancer the best. So see your oncologist and work up a plan. Then get a second opinion for your piece of mind and go with what seems best for you.

Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2007

I'm so sorry to hear about your diagnosis - too young for that. I too was diagnosed with lung cancer when I was 47. I don't know how you feel about alternative medicine, but the first thing I did was head to Mexico to a clinic that was recommended to me by an 8 year surivor of thyroid cancer. The first thinf they did was put me on a macrobiotic diet and gave me the "Hoxey" tonic to detox my body. I also did the traditional chemo and radiation and surgery, but I swear without getting "healthy" first, I would never have dealt so well with the other treatments. I never felt better! Taht was 2 years ago, with no sign of recurrence to date. The best thing youcan do for yourself is to remain postive and be convinsed you will beat this. The power of the mind and spieit are truly miraculous. Good luck with your treatment.

Posts: 6
Joined: Jun 2004

I am sorry to here about your cancer. I was 37 yrs old when I was diagnosed with small cell lunge cancer. It was inoperable and terminal. I went through chemo and high dose radiation for six weeks and still it didn't go away completely. My docs told me to get my affairs in order and we decided together to stop the chemo after about six months. I was getting sicker and the tumor wasn't getting any smaller. Thats when I called on the big Doc. I prayed to God hard. My youngest son was only 12 and I knew he would never remember me if I died and he was only twelve. I prayed and said if Jesus can go around healing sinners back in his day he can heal me. The dread and fear left that very day. I was diagnosed on Feb 2002. I am still alive and kicking. My tumor is still in my lung and they said stomach nodes and possible right kidney. Well it has all frozen. Not spreading. Not growing. Not shrinking. Good enough for me. I just had a CT Scan Thursday and I still have no changes. God is good. Now I am going on yearly CT Scans. I am still alive praise God. No fear is the best part because the fear and dread were crippling. I didn't get to choose my chemo meds and everyone I went through treatment went didn't get a choice that I know of. Are they letting you choose? Are you getting radiation? Do you have kids? I wish you the best.

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