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checking for brain metastases


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My mom had a brain MRI in October, but she hasn't been checked since then. I was dismayed that the doctor didn't schedule a test to re-check her brain when she had tests done at the end of December. I just feel it is so important to keep up on this since the cancer spreads to the brain so often with SCLC. Can you let me know what your experience has been with this?


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ABSOLUTELY have her brain checked as much as possible. I know that there is limited amount of radation they can give to the brain. But...in my mothers case, she was NED for 1.5 months, it came back in her brain & spine. She only lived 2 more months. MRI's are expensive and they are limited to how often they can give them. When it is your life or a loved one, money is not an object. You have to remain proactive in getting an MRI or the ONC may not bring it up. I know they do all they can, but it is better to know what is going on then to have it sneak up on you. SC is fast......you just have to try to stay faster. GL to you. God Bless!

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Can you tell me what kind of symptoms were present? My mom has mentioned vision changes, but I believe I have read that that can happen with chemo.

As I've also mentioned about my mom, she doesn't seem to want to know the specifics and has been in much better spirits since getting the report that the cancer is almost unnoticeable in her lung. That makes it difficult for me to talk to her about more tests. Also, she came out of the MRI in December crying. I guess being closed in really affected her. I know there are open MRI's, but I have no idea if they are available in southern Illinois.

Katie- I know what you're saying about the whole insurance thing and I know it has been discussed at length on this website. I just hope that her onc knows how often the cancer spreads to the brain with SCLC.


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Katie- Thanks for your response. I am going through many of the things you went through. I do worry that the doctors aren't doing enough. Of course, my problem is that I am over two and a half hours away. I go down to visit often, and I have been to several of her appointments, but it is next to impossible to go to them all. There are several things I would like to discuss with the doctor, but all of them would really detract from the positive state of mind my mom seems to be in. This is getting a bit off track, but she keeps talking about things she wants to do when she's better, and I am just dying to tell her to seize the day. This may be all she has. She needs to stop waiting for the future and live life now. Of course, I hope she lives to be 100, but knowing what I know about SCLC, that is not very likely.

If it's okay, I think I will try to print your post to me and have her read it. Maybe it will hit home a little better.

Thanks again.

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Your mother should live life to the fullest every day - cancer does not remove a person from the Random Beer Truck lottery.... Carpe diem!

I never had a brain MRI until I started having headaches, memory loss and gaining weight unexplainably... I doubt I will have another one unless there are possible "symptoms" - my PCP is hyper-sensitive about things that MIGHT be a cancer symptom, she is very on top of any situation and has a "better safe than sorry" attitude. I have non-small cell, different color of the same animal...

If you are having doubts, take her for a second or third opinion. Next time you go to the doctor with her, have her sign a release of information for you so that the doctor can talk to you and she won't necessarily have to be there (if you haven't gotten the release already). Write a list of questions and ask them...

The big tests aren't really good for a person, too much of the dye can be bad for someone with bad kidneys, for example. It IS radiation in one form or another...and they're expensive.

Money can be a sticky situation....I'm in no hurry to die, but if I thought that I was truly headed that way soon, I would not want to leave my family destitute and owing hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. That is just MY opinion. My life insurance is paid off, but I live in the real world and know how quickly that stuff can add up - and I am thankful I have health insurance! My claims the year of my surgery were over $80K, I paid out a few thousand....but I wasn't getting the big ol' expensive tests every time...and insurance only covers so much and then they refuse to pay. I don't want to die, but I really don't want my loved ones to have to deal with anything besides grief if I do pass. Worrying about a next meal and keeping warm is too much to leave as a legacy.

But back to where I wanted to go in the first place (I digress, my apologies, lots on my mind right now) - no matter what, your mother (and everyone else) should live life to the fullest. We are never guaranteed another day and never know when a beer truck may come barreling down the street with our name on the grille.

Take care,


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