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Hospitalization after Chemo - Stage IV lung cancer with bone metastasis

Posts: 12
Joined: May 2017

I was wondering if anyone else has had the same experiences I am having with my father. 71 year old male, former smoker (for 50 years). Diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer with bone metastasis (hip) in January 2017. Started chemo in March with the typical chemo side effects, nausea, vomitting, diarrhea, no appetite, fatigue, etc. 

He has had 3 rounds of chemo, and has been hospitalized after the last two rounds. His WBC and RBC counts are extremely low. During the past two hospitalizations, they have had to tranfuse him with blood and platletes, due to his low red blood cell counts. When I asked what his count was at yesterday, it was 2, and this is after the blood transfusions.

Has anyone else had a similar experience? I'm kind of at a loss as to what to do. Oncologist thinks it's too soon to give up on chemo, but he's really not tolerating it well. We took him to the hospital this last time because he fell twice, and we knew he was dehydrated. Hospitalizations have been 2 - 5 days post chemo treatment, and he only has chemo once every 21 days. Any advice, shared experience, what worked for you, would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for reading this post.

Posts: 5
Joined: May 2017

My husband tolerated Chemotherapy though the side effects were nasty but the cancer returned within

3 months.  He has small cell lung cancer.  He is now on Immunotherapy, and I would ask your oncologist or

medical team about other treatments like immunotherapy.  Not everyone tolerates Chemotheraphy and sometimes

it can depress the immune system to such a degree that it is more dangerous than helpful.  I would seek out

other types of treatments.  There is also a vaccine that is being used for lung cancer, it is new and experimental

but has been used in Cuba for many years and is now being tested in the US. I'm sorry I can't be more helpful. Sometimes

they can also lower the dose of the Chemo and mix it with steriods to help with nausea and eating.  That's what they

did with my husband.  The steroids cut the nausea and increased his appetite.


Posts: 12
Joined: May 2017

Thank you, joniwriter. Chemo would have killed him. We've stopped chemo, and met with the nurse today regarding the immunotherapy. Given how horribly he reacted to the chemo, we're really scared about trying something new. He had just about every bad side effect you could possibly have, and we have no way of knowing that it wouldn't be the same with immunotherapy. The other thing is the cost! He only has his social security, and Medicare pays 80% of treatment. We started him with pot brownies to help increase his appetite, because the medications they gave him to help increase his appetite made him worse. He's starting to feel better without treatment. He's 71 years old, has COPD, a pacemaker, and the non-small cell lung cancer has metastatized to his bones, and is also in his lymph nodes. We're seriously considering end of life treatment, and not doing any further chemo or immunotherapy. He just wants to live the rest of his life feeling fairly good, and for the most part, he is right now. But I really appreciate your response! Thank you.

Posts: 83
Joined: May 2017

I am so sorry to hear about your father's situation.
Immunotherapy is a good choice nowadays, especially if mismatch repair deficiency is found. Genomic profiling from biopsy samples can also provide clues (for example ALK, EGFR, and RAS mutations) for targetted therapy, usually in that order. My grandma was diagnosed with a rare bladder cancer in her 70s, and my wife has diagnosed last year with an aggressive cancer with unknown primery, and I understand taking a decesion to treat or not to treat cancer is hard, but keeping positive and hopeful is one best thing we can do.
Best wishes.

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