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Mom has lung cancer. Questions

jim and i's picture
jim and i
Posts: 1788
Joined: May 2011

I am new to the Lung Cancer part of CSN. Been on the Head and Neck cancer part for 3+ years as my husband had tongue cancer and died last April. Now my mother has been diagnosed with lung cancer. Long story about getting the diagnosis but short version is she has a mass obstructing an air passage in left lung, possible mets to L4 vertebrae and teo lymph nodes ivolved. (the Hilar and Medial nodes) She was diagnosed 3 weeks ago but oncologist appointment not until April 1st. She was Hospitalized with pneumonia last Saturday and came home Tuesday evening. She can't sleep, very tired and still coughing up blood and tissue. She is 83 and never smoked. My questions are, Isn't this a long time to wait for the oncologist appointment? The surgeon who did the biopsy of the lymph node said surgery wouldn't change anything so does that mean she is close to the end?  I know you are not doctors but just wanted opinions.

Debbie

dennycee
Posts: 836
Joined: Mar 2011

Because your mom is a nonsmoker they are testing her tumor for a number of different driving mutations.  This can take up to 6 weeks.  Your surgeon or nurse navigator should have explained that to you.  It frustrates me no end that they do not communicate this to patients and care givers.  (Actually, they are finally testing everyone for driving mutations now.)  If she had small cell lung cancer they would be started already But the non small cell can tolerate the delay in treatment.  When the results are in, it may be that she will benefit more from a targeted therapy than chemo and radiation.  

Stage 4 disease means that the cancer cells are already circulating through her body's lymphatic and/or circulatory system.  They do not want to perform surgery in one spot when there's a chance one of the circulating tumor cells can seed anywhere else in the body. 

Did they give her the brain mri yet?  Please know That some of the new targeted lung therapies can cause that mass to shrink significantly.  If there is no useful mutation found, I would push for radiation to start ASAP to open up that airway and to help with pain management on that vertebra. 

when my stage 4 adenocarcinoma was dx in 10/10 it took almost 2 months to get treatment started.  I had a large tumor load.  My primary mass was 16 cm on its longest measurement and blocked my esophagus.  So, in my honest opinion, your mom is not necessarily at the end. 

jim and i's picture
jim and i
Posts: 1788
Joined: May 2011

Oh thank you for that encouragement and information about driving mutations. The pulmanary doctor was surprised they had not done radiation to shrink it and open the airway. Her PCP sent a radiologist referal today so the ball would get rolling.

dennycee
Posts: 836
Joined: Mar 2011

How's she handling it?  

jim and i's picture
jim and i
Posts: 1788
Joined: May 2011

It is hard to tell how she is handling this because she lives alone and tries to keep a happy positive face on when around us.  Debbie

jay_rogers
Posts: 14
Joined: Oct 2015

Treatment options is different for non small cell lung cancer and  small cell lung cancer. If lung cancer stage is at early stage your mom most likely to have chemotherapy. The stage of a cancer tells you how big it is and how far it has spread. It is important because it helps your doctor decide which treatment you need. Its important to get right information about type of cancer and how it is best treated. Please consult a neaer doctor today.

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