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Why have they stopped chemo? advice please

Posts: 15
Joined: Mar 2009

Hello all,

My dad has lung cancer and he is 78 years old. He was diagnosed in March and considering the situation he is doing ok.
Is this good news...........the scan he had just last week showed that the cancer had not grown from the scan of 3 months ago??? The doctors have said that he does not need chemo??
Question: Why would they not try and continue to shrink the tumor with more chemo???

I am concerned because he is going through alot of pain in his lower back and cannot sit in 1 position more than 5 minutes, he requires strong pain killers? Is the cancer causing this pain or the strong one shot radiation that he gets every 6 weeks???

His last one shot radiation was about a week ago and doctors tell him that the radiation is still working????? Has anyone gone through this type of radiation? Should he be in this much pain if the tumor has not grown....something does look right

Please I look forward to any reply


PBJ Austin
Posts: 347
Joined: Mar 2009

I can't answer all of your questions but I do know what they meant by saying the radiation is still working. My sister is in treatment and they waited a few weeks after she finished radiation to check her progress. As it was explained to us, radiation is sort of like microwaving food. Let's say you put your food in for 5 minutes but you are supposed to let it sit a few more minutes before eating it. This is because the food continues to cook even after the microwaving has stopped. The same applies to radiation, it continues working after the treatments have stopped.

As for why they are not doing chemo, I don't know but one reason might be his age. I suggest you make a list of all of your questions, then call the doc or nurse practitioner. If you are not comfortable with the answers you are given you can seek a second opinion. I think you will feel some peace once you understand what's happening and why.

Best of luck and blessings to you and your family.

cobra1122's picture
Posts: 244
Joined: Jul 2009

It is possible that they don't want to do more damage to your dad than already has hapened. Chemo is a posion and can distory healthy tissue as well as cancer. I had to decrease my chemo because it was causing brian atrophy and then finally stop because it was causing damage to an already damage heart. So they may feel that they have put enough chemo into your dad to do what it can with out causing damage to him.

I have read, tho I was not a canadid for radation, that it can cause pain in may bone/joint areas, as does chemo. This may or maynot be the case.

If you have questions ask the chemo Doc, if your not happy with hiis answer get a second opion. Don't settle for just what they want to say. Have them expalin it to you until your satisified, thats their job too.

Your Dad sound like a fighter so as you have be there for him, support and a positive attitude go along way, if you ready my bio you will see I truly believe that it is a big part of the fight against cancer and living a comfortable life while doing it. I strive now for Quality of life and not Quanity, I would truly rather live a short life with happiness and cherishing everyday with my loved ones, than a long life of pain and misery

Our prayers and best to your Dad and you and your family,

Dan and Margi Harmon

Posts: 15
Joined: Mar 2009

HI Guys,

One thing is for sure, he is a fighter and does not complain in a whinging kind of way. He just says sometimes, i never expected anything like this to happen to me (non-smoker)

Tonight was the worse I have seen him since his diagnosis in March where he is short of breath and tell us that the pain is like electric shots in his right lung.

Is this the radiation causing the pain and short of breath, is this the side effects of radiation?

I spoke with the radiologist 2 days ago and got him to explain to me what is going on. He gave his explanation but the disappointing part was that he did not know that my dad had new scans done only a week ago. Once he knew that because I told him, he now wants to see my dad this Monday......see if there is something they have missed.

Thank you all for you support and I wish you all well.


soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sep 2006

It is my experience that when we have a lot of things going on (surgery, chemo, AND rads in my case, chemo and rads in your dad's) it is as if there are too many cooks in the kitchen. One is adding chili powder, while another comes behind him and dumps in a couple of tablespoons of cayenne.

It is important that you, your dad, and your doctors decide on who will be the head chef, so to speak, and that this doctor be aware of all treatments, and that this doctor be advised to send reports to all others involved in dad's care as these events occur.

It is true that the head chef can change from time to time, depending on current treatment. When I was first diagnosed with head/neck cancer, my ENT surgeon was the head guy, and remained so for a year or so. Even so, OncoMan was kept apprised of my situation, as was my family doc. When I needed a lobectomy (lung not brain :)), my cardiopulmonologist became the king of the hill, but even so, OncoMan was kept in the loop, as was ENT, as was Family Doc. Despite this, some things fell through the cracks as time passed and it was critical that I get everybody back on the same page, as I did.

You can make all of this happen simply by advising each doctor that dad sees to forward his results to this doctor and that one. They may not read the results at once, but they will certainly have them to peruse before prescribing any additional treatment.

Best wishes to dad and his family.

Take care,


Posts: 15
Joined: Oct 2008

Good luck to you and your dad. He is lucky to have you as an advocate. Be the squeaky wheel. As soon as your dad notices something "not right" call all doctors needed to get an answer. They are human and the right hand doesn't always know what the left is doing unfortunately. Keep fighting for him...our caregivers are our Angels on Earth!

I am a stage 4 NSC lung cancer. I ask so many questions and give so many phone updates about my condition that the nurses and doctors all know me by name (without a chart in front of them) and some even have me on speed dial! So many of my calls to return! :)

I have had stereotactic radiation of my spine. The first PET scan after the radiation indicated improvement. On the next on 3 mo. later there were no "hot spots" at all! :) As the other member said-it does continue to work!

I wish him the best! And God bless you and your dad!

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