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My dad was just diagonsed with stage IV lung cancer

Posts: 4
Joined: Oct 2009

For severak months my dad has been having shoulder, chest and neck pain. He has been to the dr several times, and they keep giving him muscle relaxers and saying it was skeltal. We finally took him back to the ER last week and they done more test and said he has a tumor in his lungs, we went to the pulimaniry dr and they said it is stage IV lung cancer and he has several tumors, including on his adreal glands. However it has not spead to his brain at this time. We are waiting on an appt with the onclogist about what treatment they will do, they are planning on doing a biopsy this friday to find out if it is small cell or non small cell. He is 72 years old and has smoked for years, hopefully he is going to stop. Does anyone else have a similar story? How long should we expect to have with him?

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sep 2006

First, it is not likely that dad has an expiration date on his forehead, so it is next to impossible to determine when he will leave this earth.

His attitude, his treatment, the aggressiveness of his cancer, all of these will play a role in how long he lives, along with his choices about quality of life versus quantity of life.

To be perfectly honest, it is my understanding (some of it from personal experience) that non-small cell lung cancer is typically less aggressive than small cell. That is not always true, I have learned, but given a choice, I would hope for NSCLC.

To be perfectly honest, the fact the cancer has spread is not good news at all. On the other hand, lung cancer has a nasty habit of traveling to the brain and the fact is not there yet is very good news.

I cannot make a prediction for you. Your dad's doctors' predictions will not be as accurate as you might assume them to be.

Given dad's age and his likely additional problems such as COPD and emphysema, along with the metastasis (movement of cancer to other areas), I would say that his doctors are likely to talk to you folks about palliative care: how long to go with chemotherapy, for example, how much dad wants to fight, how much pain he can endure in order to live, difficult questions of that sort.

I hope that I am wrong. I hope they say that they have wonderful treatments that may eradicate the cancer in its entirety.

In any event, dad is likely to have many months, if not years, dependent upon his treatment choices. the nature of the cancer, and his physical and mental makeup.

I wish him and his family the very best.

Take care,


Posts: 4
Joined: Oct 2009

Thanks for your reply. It makes me feel better to be able to talk about this to someone other than family members. I am hopeful but at the same time trying to be realistic. I know things are not good but I am ptaying he does not have to suffer. My dad is a very strong man, who does not give up easy. He is 72 and still works full time in heating and air, and he did go back to work this week. He knows it has to be his last week for a while. Please keep him in your prayers and I will keep you posted.

Posts: 2
Joined: Nov 2009

My 52 year old husband was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer on "Black Friday" - the day after Thanksgiving last Nov 2008. The doctors are amazed he is still with us and his attitude has everything to do with it. We just received news from his doctor after performing further CT scans that it has spread to his liver. His reaction . . "Ok, it's one more thing we have to get over". He is the one with the disease but he is my strength and my three grown children are just as positive and encouraging as he is.

Please remember to be strong and positive in all your thoughts. I am the basket case in
this scenario. I do not want to think that I may lose him one day but keep your faith through it all.

Also . . . Memorial Sloan Kettering is doing research on Maitake Mushroom Extract which has been known to make chemo work more efficiently and provide amazing results for cancer patients. My husband started taking it a month ago (it's available in vitamin stores) - it can't hurt and your loved one is worth any attempt out there to prolong and improve their life.

Godspeed for your dad and take care of yourself as well.


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