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Dads report is in, please read and provide insight.

Posts: 4
Joined: Sep 2011

Hi folks,

Today was a very scary day coz today the reports for my dad came in, initially i saw the reports and as a lay man, i thought that the reports are serious but not that serious.

We saw the doctor and this is what he explained,

as per the biopsy and the PET scan, it is a "poorly diffrentiated squamous cell carcinoma". it is in the apical section of the left lung in the upper section. it has a couple of lymphnodes in that area. it has metastized to his 8th rib bone in the right, to a few bones in the backbone, to some part of the hip and right shoulder. nothing seen in any of the organs or brain ( thats good i think...the organs thingy)...the report said its a lesion, it didnt use the term tumor but its malignant.

i asked him about the treatments, he said surgery is out of the question at any time, because the stuff has spread out of the lung. he even ruled out radiation for the same reasons, but said it might be used at a later stage but not now. he prescribed chemo with carboplastin, some thing called gimo...(sorry i do not have the case files with me right now, im at work) and avastin as non chemo medicine which would be taken along with the chemo cycles. i asked him about tarceva, but he said thats for adenocarcinoma, non smokers etc.

mom finally asked him how do things look right now, he said there are "plus" and "minus". plus's r that my dad suffers from no other body problem *touchwood* so he should be fit enough to take it, and the minus that it has spread out of the lung. i asked him if its a NSCLC or SCLC, he smiled and said, dont worry, thats a technical term, dont get bothered with that.

So folks what do u ppl think? OH YES, mom asked him about the condition, he placed his hands on the table apart and said, if right hand side is good and left hand side is worse....its at about 65-70% towards the left.

i asked him about the "stage", he said any cancer tht spreads out of the primary part is staged as 4.....that kinda took the wind out of my sails....

so folks what r ur views? do u think dad has a chance? is radiation really not a possibility?...i feel dad has a fighting chance but still....

Please provide ur valuable advice!

Posts: 199
Joined: Jan 2011

I am so sorry about your dad's diagnosis. Your doctor sounds somewhat vague and if you are asking for our opinions I wonder how much trust you have in him.

Maybe someone on here who had somewhat the same diagnosis can help. I am sorry but I can only offer you and your family my best wishes.

laynie11's picture
Posts: 36
Joined: Sep 2011

Hi Knight -

I've talked with you briefly before your Dad's diagnosis. My Mom has Large cell CA in her left lung, met to her mandible and a few spots on her spine. She has a different kind of CA than your Dad, however, I felt the same as you - confused.

We are lucky, My mom & I work for Pathologists who are working with my Mom's oncologist, so they explain everything to us and we know she is getting the best treatment available.

It sounds like you need to educate yourself and be your dad's advocate. Once your dad's oncologist gives you a treatment plan and starts chemo, look into getting a second opinion from another institution - getting a second opinion does not mean you don't trust your Dad's doctor - it is protocol and it will give your Dad more options with regard to clinical trials, etc. I don't know where you live - we live in So Ca - so we are going to get a 2nd opinion from UCLA.

Also, what I have found helpful is Hospice. We have two different kinds of Hospice in our community - Traveling nurses for end-of-life care and Non-medical Hospice. I contacted Hospice (the non-medical one) when I was in panic-mode a few weeks ago. I am so glad I did - Hospice offers FREE services for people facing a life threatening illness as well as their families. I just had a counseling session yesterday. Hospice offers counseling, classes, dietician, exercise classes, massage and many, many other services. There are probably people who can explain the medical aspect of your dad's condition to help you better understand what is going on with your dad and what you can expect. Also, it might help if you write of list of questions you should ask your Dad's oncologist. My mom's oncologist offers "family meetings" when patients and family members need to sit down and ask questions. Your dad's oncologist probably does too, but you'll prob need help knowing what questions to ask. I bet someone at Hospice can help you with this.

Anyway, two bits of advise, HOSPICE & Second opinion.

Here is the link to the local Hospice in our community - perhaps there is something similar in your neck of the woods.


Take Care, be pushy and ask questions!

NayPaul's picture
Posts: 230
Joined: Oct 2010

Regarding staging..... my wife always tells people when they ask.... it is stage 4 and there is no stage 5..... however, that does not mean hopeless.... get a second opinion, not for staging, but for treatment purposes. That is where the difference (and possible impending guilt) will lie. So what does this mean? Lots of people, my wife included have a fair amount of time and good quality of life.

I don't agree that sclc or nsclc is just a technical term. Treatment plans are incredibly different, even on subtypes of nsclc or sclc....so for his sake and your mentality, get a 2nd opinion..

Sorry u have to be here, but we will be here for u.

Posts: 183
Joined: Apr 2011

Sorry to hear of your Dad's dx. I know it is alot to take in. The postings here hold alot of good advice and I can add nothing else to them. Your Dad's journey is going to be a tough one but with a good support system around him, a good treatment plan, and good Drs, he can prevail. You are to be commended for supporting and caring so deeply for your father. Stay strong and God bless. Cheryl

Glenna M's picture
Glenna M
Posts: 1576
Joined: May 2009

I've read and reread your post several times and still get hung up on the doctor saying "dont worry, thats a technical term, dont get bothered with that." That really bothers me as there is a big difference in these two types of cancer, how they are treated and how fast they grow are two differences I can think of. This is strictly my opinion but I am not comfortable with some of the doctor's answers and I would get a second opinion. I'm not saying he is wrong, I'm just saying I would feel better having another doctor give his opinion and answer all your questions.

I'm currently waiting to start treatment for NSCLC Adenocarcinoma recurrence in my left lung with spread to right lung and one lymph node. I've also been told there will be no radiation, just chemo at this time but I still feel that my chances of knocking this beast back into remission are great. You have to have faith and a positive attitude to get you through this battle. I did it before and I will do it again and so can't your dad!!

Stay strong and don't give up.

Posts: 15
Joined: Apr 2011

I agree 100% with Glenna. The difference in SCLC and NSCLC is a extremely important. Why the doctor won't tell you when you asked him straight out is, for me, a warning sign that a second opinion is warranted.

It never hurts to get a second opinion and it's always good to have another perspective.

Posts: 844
Joined: Mar 2011

Remember the docs can only give you an educated guess about you dad's chances. In Oct 2010 my onco told me to get my things in order- I probably only had 10 months or so to live. Inoperable stage 4 nsclc with mets to nodes and other lung. Very soon I will be celebrating 1 yr survival and my doc now uses terms like cautiously optimistic. My tumors are still shrinking and I am enjoying my life to my fullest capacity.

To confirm whether or not your dad will ever be a candidate for radiation, get a second opinion. If you are not fortunate enough to live in a community that has more than one oncology practice plan a trip to a region that does. Make it in an area dad has always wanted to visit.

It is heartening to know that your dad's mets have not been to brain and other organs. Most frequently lung cancers mets to liver and brain and from the liver to the bodies other systems. It is even better that the mets are "poorly differentiated", that means that the affected cells retain some of their original character rather than that of the cancer cells. You probably already know that/

My best to you and your dad,

Posts: 15
Joined: Mar 2011

CancerGrace.org is a wonderful website to find help with lung cancer. They have doctors and members who can provide medically curated information to the often confusing information given to us from tests/scans.

deltafun's picture
Posts: 50
Joined: Apr 2011

I fully agree with DianaJ. I would go to the Grace website and post your questions there to the Oncologist on that site. THey are great at responding to any questions.

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