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Non-small cell stage IV

carol101
Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2009

Just joined today. My husband has been diagnoised with non small cell squamous cancer. The doc has given a prognosis of 9 12 months. His cancer has metatized (sp?) to the brain, liver and 2 lymph nodes in the lungs. I have questions. Is there anyone out there with the same diagnosis?

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

I am a survivor of squamous cell cancer in the tongue/neck (2005). I also had cancer detected in the lowest lobe of my right lung (2007). A biopsy (and subsequent lobectomy) proved this to be SCC as well, although the nodule was too small when they extracted it to determine whether it was metastasis or not. (Incidentally, squamous cell cancer IS also classified as a non-small cell cancer when in the lungs (NSCLC)).

Frankly, the hope was and is that it was new cancer. I am, thankfully, now NED (no evidence of disease).

I cannot sugarcoat your husband's diagnosis, Carol. The fact that it has, with apparent certainty on the doctors' part, metastasized to the liver and, more critically, the brain, is bad news.

The 9-12 months to live diagnosis, however, leaves room for at least some hope, Carol. When cancer was initially diagnosed in my lungs, I was told I had 10 months to live. This proved to be incorrect: I had an infection in my lungs, accidentally cleared up by an antibiotic prescribed for another infection. That was in June of 2007 and I am still here.

That happens to be a rare story, I think, regrettably. Even so, if there is no expiration date on your hub's forehead, the doctors are only making guesstimates, predictions based on statistics, and statistics, after all, have both low ends and high ends, so that the 9-12 month prediction is simply a median. Depending on the aggressiveness of treatment and your husband's (and your) attitude in dealing with this, he can defy the predictions.

At least for a time.

In the meantime, it IS important that you begin to consider the worst-case scenario and to deal with it. This means making sure that all is in order legally, that you both have a clear understanding of end-game scenarios (a living will?), that you begin to look into the options available to you for help as the end approaches (home hospice, perhaps?).

Ask us your questions, Carol, and we will do our best to help with our own experiences as survivors and caregivers (and surviving caregivers). Also ask your husband's doctors every question you can think of. And do not forego agencies such as the very one that sponsors this site, the American Cancer Society.

My thoughts are with you and your husband, Carol.

It is apt to be a rocky road. For both of you.

Take care,

Joe

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