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My Dad has lung cancer

Posts: 15
Joined: Mar 2009

Just recently my dad was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer (never smoked). He has a persistent cough which made him get the test done.
I guess i am now just looking for hope, direction and support on this whole process.
Staying positive.
Thanks Tartos

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sep 2006

Tartos, it is a crummy club to belong to, for sure, but it is not because of the members :).

You will find the people who contribute to the boards, and also who drop into the chatroom, to be among the kindest, gentlest, people you will come across. It helps, too, that they have been through it, either as survivors or caregivers (and right now your dad IS a survivor!).

You have not asked any specific questions, and I do not know your specific situation, so I can provide no specific answers. I can only suggest that you continue to support your dad to the best of your ability, and that you have a careful look at all of the board entries here that might apply. In addition, you might seek some ideas about caregiving in the Caregivers board.

Best wishes to dad and his family!

Take care,


Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

Dear Tartos,

Your dad is lucky to have a son who is looking out for him. I have lung cancer too, a NSCLC, but it was discovered much the same way. I had a cough that just wouldn't go away. I figured they just weren't giving me the right antibiotics and thought I had pneumonia. In the end, I did have the pneumonia, but lung cancer was the reason the infections wouldn't clear up.

You didn't say where your dad is in the process of getting treated. I was lucky enough to be directed to a thoracic surgeon that knew how to do a VATS procedure to get at my cancer. A VATS is a lot like laproscopy. If he hasn't had surgery yet, it is worth asking questions about. General surgeons also operate on folks for lung cancer, but they do regular surgery. VATS won't do any better at removing the cancer, but it is faster to recover from.

This board is a great place to post questions. I agree with Joe: cancer is a nasty disease, but the folks here are terrific. Write back with your questions. Take care!

C. Abbott

Posts: 15
Joined: Mar 2009

Hi Guys,

Thanks for the kind words and hope. At this stage all i have been told that he has small cell lung cancer and it has not spread. I understand that small cell lung cancer is aggressive and can spread quick if not acted on straight away. Where i am confused is that just today i was told that he will not start treatment of Chemo and Radiation until mid April because that is the latest they could squeeze him in. Should i be demanding that he be treated sooner or trust them? Is this normal?

Confused and frustrated. God there must be alot of people suffering from this disease.



soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sep 2006


It is in fact, apparently, the latest rage, as everyone seems to either have it or know someone who does.

As for the waiting, you will find that this is a particularly difficult part of the process. Personally, I have decided that Tom Petty's song, The Waiting is the Hardest Part should be the universal anthem for cancer survivors and their caregivers.

I think, speaking of your waiting period, that if you are concerned about your Dad's level of care, you should probably seek assistance elsewhere. Let me correct that: if your DAD is concerned, he should seek help elsewhere.

Many on these boards typically suggest seeking a second opinion, by the way. I happen to be a bit reticent about that, as I know that it will typically only take more time, which, in your case, is what you are trying to avoid.

I advise that you put your faith in the doctors, and that if you cannot do so, move on to others in whom you can put that faith. There is no other way, simply put, to feel secure about what is going on.

If you do not trust them, they must go.

On the other hand, these doctors are not doing anything out of the ordinary. I was told in June of 07 that I had terminal lung cancer, and it was not until August of that year, two and a half months later, that they did another scan, determining that they made a little OOPS in their original diagnosis, that I had only a small node in the right lung. Even then, it was not until the last day of January in 08 that they finally removed that node.

Ironically enough, cancer sometimes takes time. I am not sure that applies in your dad's case.

Again, if HE is unhappy with his care, he should seek out others.

I wish him and his family the very best. Bravo to you for looking out for him as you are.

Take care,


Posts: 318
Joined: Feb 2008

Although Small Cell is faster growing then large cell(my husband had)it is easier to get rid of. And drs can determine by their test how fast it grows. Another month it may not do much of anything or maybe only a little and they may determined this by test I'm not sure. But as Joe said trust your Dr or have one you can trust. The dr. told my husband and I about the two cell cancers. Also predicting on the stage too. God Bless you for being there.
Prayers and Hugs to all as always

Posts: 15
Joined: Mar 2009

Thank you everyone,

We just received a phone call today that he is to go in for radiation treatment on Monday and Chemo will be discussed. This is a load of my mind, espicially my mums. For some reason everyday i am becoming more and more optimistic. thank you to everyone who shared their experiences, thoughts and suggestions. It was pleasing to hear that Small cell responds to treatment well and is fightable. The fact that he was a non smoker will help in his recovery to.
I will stay on top of this and keep you all updated. Now just bracing myself and hpe the side effects are not too extreme.

I wish you all well

Madre's picture
Posts: 124
Joined: Apr 2008

My dad just had surgery for lung cancer too. He had pnemonia in April '08 but the cough wouldn't go away, doc kept giving more meds and no luck. Got a new doc that did scope for a mass they found in his lung, all biopsy came back back negative but they wanted to remove the mass. That is when they found it, in his back between the lung and ribs (chest wall) so they removed the chest wall and 4 ribs and 2 lobes of his lung - that biopsy came back positive. This was Jan'09 and he just had his port put in the other day and will start chemo (not sure what kind) in 3 months. They want him to get stronger from the surgery. So I agree, go with your gut about your comfort level in your doctor. If they aren't giving you the answers you are looking for find another opinion.

Posts: 15
Joined: Mar 2009

Very similar scenario, my dad was diagnosed with pnemonia and pumped with heaps of drugs. What frustrates me is that GP's should know to at least take into consideration lung cancer and order scans sooner because it appears the symptons are clear.
Just in my short education on this disease a scan should had been ordered sooner. older male, persistent coughing etc.....i don't know. Radiation starts next Monday but not sure when the Chemo does. Unfortunately my father comes from the old school where you just trust your GP and you cannot tell him any different.
i hope your dad recovers well and please keep in touch

All the best

Posts: 4
Joined: Mar 2009

Hi Tartos and to all others,

Well I know when my Dad was diagnosed in 2005, none of our lives were ever the same. He was actually going to have surgery to treat his prostate cancer but his pre-op reports showed a suspicious spot on his lung on his x-ray. Turned out to be non-small cell lung cancer. My Dad has been a non-smoker, non-drinker, vegetarian, and an active man all of his life, so this diagnosis was a HUGE blow. He just began home hospice about 2-3 weeks ago, but mind you, he has been strongly fighting his battle for 4-5 years now and even still is quite resilient. (My hero! :) We have been through the full gamut of chemo, radiation, pneumonectomy surgery (he had his right lung removed after the chemo was successful in shrinking the tumor), along with brain mets, and everything in between.

It truly is a life-changing experience. But I've tried to garner whatever positive I can from this, it has made me so much stronger, so much closer to my family, and my father most importantly. I just want you to know Tartos, that though this will be the most challenging obstable and probably the most fearful experience, that everything has a way of working out, and what you can do for your father is to be there, whole-heartedly, every step of the way, holding his hand through this circumstance. I joined and read a couple of sites when he was first diagnosed but soon forgot about it and just continued to help the best way I could. I now am in need of support and talking to others whose father has been affected I think, will give me the most comfort. Read up on the disease, knowledge is truly power! Focus on the survivor stories, not the statistics. My Dad, despite being in hospice, is a survivor!! He had been active only until recently, still working between chemo treatments, taking care of himself and being independent. Focus on your father's independence, though he may have cancer, he probably feels the same, asides from the coughing. Focus on the good, focus on having faith, and know that you are not alone.

I hope my words have given you some comfort. I am looking forward to talking with you all.

Heartfelt prayers to all,

Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2009


My mom was diagnosed with sclc in June 08. She is now cancer free! She did chemo and radiation. The side effects from treatment were mostly fatigue and headaches. She is still recovering from treatment but she had a complete response to the chemo and radiation. Her oncologist said the chemo would "melt the cancer away like snow". I held onto that image as I found it comforting. I am now so happy her "snow" is all gone. Good luck to you all. Prayer and positive attiudes help so much.

Posts: 15
Joined: Mar 2009

Firstly a big thank you once again to everyone's great words and support. Each time i log on and read about all the good and inspirational stories i go to bed that little bit easier. You are all right, focus on the positive and forget the stats, cancer will disolve away with the chemo. i now start to visualize the future with my dad in the picture.

We finally met a the radiation specialist today and his words were very positve. "we are treating this to cure it" He also pulled some strings and made some phone calls and my dad is going to see a chemo specialist sooner than later. He explained that the radiation will not start until he is in the second run of chemo. He will get zapped everyday for 5 weeks - exclude weekends.

Tomorrow we see the chemo specialist and they are having a conference with other doctors to discuss my dad's situation and the best form of treatment.

Apart from his cough which annoys him, my dad maintains his independance and we all make sure that he continues do things he feels like doing.

Looking forward to tomorrow. I wish you all well.


Posts: 14
Joined: Jun 2009

Cork39 - Your post was a shot in the arm today! My mom was diagnosed with SCLC a month ago and just finished her second cycle of chemo. She is not a candidate for radiation b/c of radiation she had in her 20s from Hodgkins, but the docs are still optimistic about remission because it hasn't gone to any other organs. I also feel positive about about remission but am scared about how long it will be.

We had a fabulous Father's Day with extended family, and I really have been thinking that she may not be with us next year to celebrate. I think "I'm 40, and in a year will I not have my mom?" But to read your post one year after your mom's diagnosis and see that she's in full remission is wonderful!! You know how some days you're tempering your hope with the reality of the situation, and it's usually not good? And today my hope has been boosted by your mom's reality.

Thank you, thank you, and I pray for continued good news for you and your family!

Posts: 15
Joined: Mar 2009

Hi Guys,

Well my dad has just gone through 5 cycles of chemo and 5 weeks of radiation. He did so well through this period and never showed too many side effects. He was told that the tumor in his lung has shrunk considerably and the coughing had stopped. He also ate well through this period (Thanks to my mum and put on weight)

Just the other day we had a set back where they found a spot in a scan near his spine. It was confirmed today that cancer had spread to the spine and ribs (spots). So basically it means its now in his bones.

My brother spoke with the chemo doc and basically said that they wre going to do 2 more rounds of chemo and if this does not work then it looks bleak.

Is there anyone that has similar experiences either directly or indirectly. I am doing my best to be positive but I must admit today I feel sick in the stomach.

Thanks guys

Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Everyone.....
I'm new to this site and just want to quickly say how nice it is to see how lovely and encouraging people can be...

In April this year my dad had a lump removed from his lymph node near his groin.... The results came back positive for Cancer! The worst day of all our lives...As a family we have never dealt with this disease before and didn't know what to expect. So, we hoped it was lymphoma...but horribly it turned out to be Lung Cancer... but this meant the cancer had already spread... The doctors were sure the lung was the secondary and tried for weeks to find the priamry but couldn't... After cat scans and xrays and alsorts they found a spot on his stomach but didnt act on this...
My dad has just finished 3 doses of chemo...1 dose of radio and has just had another cat scan... The tumor in his lung has reduced alot and the spotting in his stomach has dissapeared. My dad is fit, well and as fat as he's ever been.... he goes to the gym every morning and still goes working abroad!
I just wanted to post this to reassure some people...that even tho cancer may spread... It doesn't mean the end and to keep your chin up and stay positive! My dad will never be rid of cancer...and who knows how he'll be in a couple of months...but today he's doing great!
So, try and live for today!
Good luck everyone...

Posts: 47
Joined: Oct 2009

Hi Lizzy: Thanks so much for your post. I am Stage IIIB, discovered in May of this year after a cough that would not go away. Not a surgical candidate but six rounds of chemo (cisplatin/Alimta) and 8 weeks of radiation. I am a month out of treatment and just had my first scan -- get results Tuesday and I am VERY SCARED to hear the results. It is great to hear your father is doing so well. I, too, feel very well and cannot imagine that feeling this good I won't hear good results, but then again I never had any symptoms except the cough and never ever felt sick at all.

Your advice live for today is very good advice. Indeed those of us living with this uncertain disease are on a continual roller coaster and truly all we can do is be grateful and thankful for each day we are doing well.

I hope your dad continues to do well. Your post was a great inspiration and very helpful to me at a time when I am so nervous about what I will hear next week. Thank you for the reminder that I feel great today and I should not waste this good day by worrying over something I have not control of. Thank you and best wishes -- Laura

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