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Diagnosis of Lung Cancer

butterfly7171
Posts: 15
Joined: Sep 2009

My dad went to the oncologist for the first time today. He has lung cancer, spread to the liver and lymph nodes around his esophagus are swollen very badly and have constricted the esophagus by alot. The dr. said it is Stage IV and my dad needs a needle liver biopsy to find out what kind of cancer it is. THen they will treat with chemo. my dad is 91. My brother went in to talk to the dr. about how long he has and he said without chemo he could live a few weeks to a couple of months. With chemo he said maybe a year. Meanwhile the biopsy is scheduled out for a week and a half from now ! That makes no sense. They should be doing it NOW if the dr. thinks this is so serous and he need to treat. My dad is coughing and wheezing so badly I am very worried and he lives alone on top of it. I am going to push to get this biopsy done even if I have to travel 2 hours to get it done early next week. Has anyone had the liver biopsy and is it painful? I know my dad is going to die and want him to be as comfortable as possible with the least amount of pain. He is very depressed right now and did not expect this diagnosis. The dr. was very good and went over all the results of the PET scan. It is a sad time and even though he is 91 that does not take away the pain I am feeling. As I posted earlier we were supposed to go on a cruise October 17 through the Panama Canal and that is going to have to be canceled. It was his dream trip and I am sorry we didn't get to do it sooner. So glad this site it out here..

cabbott
Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

I'm so sorry that you and your Dad are having to go through all this. It is extremely important that they get a good diagnosis of what kind of cancer your Dad has. Chemo and cancer are both umbrella terms that cover a lot of different kinds of medicines and kinds of cancer. Different kinds of cancer respond to different kinds of medicines. Even different kinds of lung cancer need different kinds of chemo. If you can find a teaching hospital or clinic that specializes in lung cancer, they may have a pathology lab at the site. That may save the wait AFTER the biopsy for results by a week or two. At my local hospital, all cancer path reports are sent half way across the country to a specialist for confirmation. It took over two weeks after my first biopsy in my hometown just to get results my first time around. Now I go to the university teaching hospital two hours away. The drive is lots longer, but the wait is less after tests. The specialists are more advanced in their fields too. Sometimes I don't need that, but sometimes I do. But getting into them takes time. I had to wait a month just for my first appointment and then they scheduled surgery and stuff for a month after that! More wait time! Fortunately my cancer was caught very early and it is slow growing. I was very anxious all the same. They told me that cancers have specific doubling times. The breast cancer I had first doubles about every 210 days. The lung cancer I have now is about equally slow growing. Some lung cancers are faster growing, but most doctors are still comfortable waiting up to one month between diagnosis and treatment. And of course you don't know what kind of cancer your Dad has. Just because it is in the lung doesn't mean that it is lung cancer. It could have started somewhere else and traveled to the lung. The pathologist will be able to tell by looking at the cells under the microscope and maybe doing some microgenetic testing to verify what he is seeing. In any case, a week and a half would be fast to schedule a test with the professionals I've come in contact with. While he waits for the test, he should still receive care for his breathing concerns and any pain issues. His primary care doctor needs to evaluate him and provide whatever supportive care he needs. Pain meds have to be monitored very carefully in older people but no one should be in pain unnecessarily. It takes about 10 seconds to check someone's oxygen level if the fancy equipment is in the doctor's office, but the doctor can also tell by looking at your dad's color and listening to his chest if they don't have the finger clip oxygen monitor. The primary care physician can also tell you what to start feeding your dad to strengethen his body and keep his weight up. It is not easy to eat when you hurt inside. Depression can be treated. Getting sleep after just hearing the word cancer is like impossible. Sometimes the doctor can help with that too. In any case, call your dad's primary care physician and see if he or she can help. Getting treatment for the daily hurts is just as important as doing something big about the cancer.

freddyfox
Posts: 10
Joined: Sep 2009

hes 91!!!!!! GOD BLESSS THAT....HE LIVED 91 more years than a lot of human beings. I lost my MOMY and she was 60....Im 22. Apppreciate your position. YOU ARE VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY LUCKY. APPRECIATE YOUR FORTUNE.

Pitapocket
Posts: 16
Joined: May 2009

Hi:

I am so sorry to hear about your precious dad. I lost my dad two years ago to lung cancer. And he had just turned 68. But, it doesn't matter how old or how young they are, it is still an incredible and difficult loss. Maybe I can offer some words to you based on what my dad and I went through. First, this is going to be a very tough journey, so get ready. My dad was a smoker. Unfortunately, so am I. When he was diagnosed, he was already at stage 4. And like your dad, his cancer had already spread to the liver, bones, adrenal glands, and lymphnodes. They offered him radiation and chemo. They said it would be about 6 months without chemo, and about a year or more with chemo. They also said that the intent of the treatment was NOT to cure, but rather slow it down and buy him some time. In other words, he would die no matter what. Sometimes I think that the chemo can be just as bad or worse than the cancer. I know other people who went with the chemo, and they died very quickly. The side effects are hell. Dad chose to go with the radiation, which would shrink the tumors, but he declined the chemo. He lived for 8 months. For pain, the doctors only gave him vicodin, which was worthless. Then we contacted Hospice. Hospice is AMAZING. First of all, they are all about keeping the patient very comfortable and pain free. They offer support and comfort to the patient AND the family. They DO NOT charge and run off of donations. If your dad is on Medicare, Hospice deals with them directly. I honestly feel that Hospice did more for my dad than the doctors ever could. If they would have said to him that he had a fighting chance, then he would have fought. But at stage 4, the chances are slim at best and on top of that your dad is 91. I think you should consider Hospice. They will make sure that your dad gets rid of the pain, which will allow more quality of life. You will be able to spend the time with your dad without running to doctors all the time. Whatever time you have with him will be precious. Once Hopsice became involved with my dad, he didn't have any pain. We were able to spend quality time together. Also, my dad lived alone. I did end up going to stay with him for two months. I couldn't leave him alone. But it was worth it. We were able to talk about alot of things and became even closer than we already were. If you know your dad is going to die, and the doctors are saying they can't cure him, then I urge you to look into Hospice. Why waste your time with the doctors? Another thing, ask his doctor what the intent of the treatment is. Ask him if it will cure his cancer and make him better. If he says no, that it will slow down the progression and buy him some time, then you should go with Hospice. They will take away his pain, I promise you. You need to look at quality of life versus quantity. Is it more important to live longer with the side effects of chemo? Or is it more important to live better with no pain, even though I may not live as long? God Bless you and your dad. You will be in my thoughts. One more thing, take the time to take care of yourself too. You will be no good to him if you don't take care of you.

Pitapocket
Posts: 16
Joined: May 2009

Hi:

I am so sorry to hear about your precious dad. I lost my dad two years ago to lung cancer. And he had just turned 68. But, it doesn't matter how old or how young they are, it is still an incredible and difficult loss. Maybe I can offer some words to you based on what my dad and I went through. First, this is going to be a very tough journey, so get ready. My dad was a smoker. Unfortunately, so am I. When he was diagnosed, he was already at stage 4. And like your dad, his cancer had already spread to the liver, bones, adrenal glands, and lymphnodes. They offered him radiation and chemo. They said it would be about 6 months without chemo, and about a year or more with chemo. They also said that the intent of the treatment was NOT to cure, but rather slow it down and buy him some time. In other words, he would die no matter what. Sometimes I think that the chemo can be just as bad or worse than the cancer. I know other people who went with the chemo, and they died very quickly. The side effects are hell. Dad chose to go with the radiation, which would shrink the tumors, but he declined the chemo. He lived for 8 months. For pain, the doctors only gave him vicodin, which was worthless. Then we contacted Hospice. Hospice is AMAZING. First of all, they are all about keeping the patient very comfortable and pain free. They offer support and comfort to the patient AND the family. They DO NOT charge and run off of donations. If your dad is on Medicare, Hospice deals with them directly. I honestly feel that Hospice did more for my dad than the doctors ever could. If they would have said to him that he had a fighting chance, then he would have fought. But at stage 4, the chances are slim at best and on top of that your dad is 91. I think you should consider Hospice. They will make sure that your dad gets rid of the pain, which will allow more quality of life. You will be able to spend the time with your dad without running to doctors all the time. Whatever time you have with him will be precious. Once Hopsice became involved with my dad, he didn't have any pain. We were able to spend quality time together. Also, my dad lived alone. I did end up going to stay with him for two months. I couldn't leave him alone. But it was worth it. We were able to talk about alot of things and became even closer than we already were. If you know your dad is going to die, and the doctors are saying they can't cure him, then I urge you to look into Hospice. Why waste your time with the doctors? Another thing, ask his doctor what the intent of the treatment is. Ask him if it will cure his cancer and make him better. If he says no, that it will slow down the progression and buy him some time, then you should go with Hospice. They will take away his pain, I promise you. You need to look at quality of life versus quantity. Is it more important to live longer with the side effects of chemo? Or is it more important to live better with no pain, even though I may not live as long? God Bless you and your dad. You will be in my thoughts. One more thing, take the time to take care of yourself too. You will be no good to him if you don't take care of you.

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