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lung cancer metastasis to brain

Posts: 3
Joined: Dec 2009


I am new to this group. My mother was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer in June and went through radiation and chemo - about 2 months ago she had a scan and they said she reacted great to treatment and was cancer free. About 2 weeks ago she started having HORRIBLE headaches and falling - she went in for a MRI on Monday and they found 3 tumors on her brain. They are all under 3 cmm so she started full brain radiation today - 13 sessions and then they will take another scan.

I feel SO HOPELESS and SCARED - she is my best friend. When she was diagnosed with the lung cancer they kept using the word "cure" now it is "manage” Does anyone have any advice, encouragement or can help me anticipate the near future.

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sep 2006


There is clearly little good news in the scenario you present. But there are a few slivers of silver in otherwise grey glouds!

First, while it is true that 'cure' is much preferred to 'manage' it is still better, far better to be in a 'manageable' mode than 'palliative' or 'terminal' mode, wouldn't you agree? There are any number of folks on this very site who are in 'maintenance' for their cancer, not just lung cancer survivors but certainly lung cancer survivors among them, and they are living happy, functional lives with the occassional inconveniences that dealing with cancer bring of necessity.

Second, I have been saying this since I was first diagnosed with head/neck cancer in 2005 (my lung cancer dx came in June of 2007, by the way): if they are still treating it, they must think they can do some good. The time to REALLY start worrying is when you (and mom) are advised that there is nothing left for them to do.

I will not brush aside the seriousness of the situation for your mom. My own mom died from cancer in her brain that was metastatis of a more than 20-year past breast cancer. She had beaten the breast cancer back in the 70s, and was in the midst of battling ovarian in the 90s when the mets to the brain were discovered. This one she couldn't beat and eventually determined that it was no longer worth it to try.

It is tough to deal with that, of course, and that day may come for your mom eventually, so it is perfectly reasonable for you to feel hopeless and scared.

I think, though, that if you can, you should try to focus on the present, encouraging mom to join you in celebrating the life you still have. You do not know how long that life will last: there is no expiration date on mom's forehead, after all.

Which leads to another of these little thoughts I express in these boards from time to time: cancer WILL get what it is designed to get, with the exception of course that mom and doctors can do their darnedest to prevent it even from getting THAT. But it is NOT designed to mess with our minds, to take away our love, our happiness. THAT, we do ourselves in our -- again reasonable -- feelings of hopelessness and fear and anger. Do not let cancer have that, elyssa. THAT you CAN control.

I wish your mom and her family the best.

Take care,


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