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New Guy with Lung Cancer NSCLC


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I was diagnosed in September with Stage IIIB adenocarcinoma--3.5 cm tumor on upper right lobe. Large pleural effusion with malignant cells.

After several opinions (all the same) I started chemo gemcitabine/carboplatin in December. Completed cycle #5 a week ago today.

The PE was treated back in September with thoracentesis/pleurodesis. It remains--partially loculated--but much diminished to the point where I'm advised no further drainage is required at this time.

CAT scan last week shows tumor unchanged.

I have tolerated the chemo reasonably well. I get a delayed reaction 3 days after treatment. Extreme fatigue. Joint pains. Nausea. That lasts 3-4 days.

Following this treatment (#5) and the last I have experienced chest pain corresponding about to the location of the tumor. The pain is mild until I move about. It becomes intense if I bend over as to reach for something on the floor. It feels like pressure/stress on a wound or injury at that point.

Other than this I have had no pain since chemo began in December. My breathing has improved except for these recoil periods following the chemo.

My question concerns others experience with pain in connection with similar cancers. What has been your experience. Has anyone found chemo provoked the onset of pain as seems to be the case here?

I would appreciate it if any comments in response be confined to these questions/issues. More specifically I do not appreciate religious or spiritual messages of any kind. I would ask that my sentiments be respected in that regard.

Thank you...

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Welcome. The pain could be several things. Either shrinkage, or growth of the tumor. I am guessing it would be shrinkage with your improved breathing. Could it be the loss of fluid the was drained? Maybe cramping? I experience leg cramps from gemzar(sp). Drinking lots of fluids before and after chemo help me somewhat.

After tumor shrinkage, I experienced some pain in that area, but it was not intense more a discomfort.

For a better explanation you should try posting in the "Ask The Experts".

I hope you find the source of the pain.


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Hi bc,

Welcome to the group. I'm not sure if what I have to say will be helpful or not. As for the joint pains, I remember well when Mike as on Carboplatin and taxol he would always start to feel bad about the 3rd or 4th day after treatments and he experienced quite a bit of achiness and joint pain. I believe the onc said the carboplatin was responsible for this. As for the chest pain, he didn't have that. The only other carboplatin side effect he had was hair loss. I don't know if this is helpful or not. Others will be along soon and perhaps give their own experiences. This group is great for sharing . My best to you.


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Hey, bc.

the one thing that I can think of that kind of sounds like something I have going on is when I bend down to pick something up from the floor, I cough. No pain though. But, occasionally, I will have just mild pain in my back corresponding to the site of the tumors. I had radiation and chemo.

Good luck.

Cindi o'h

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My husband is on 6th cycle of carboplatin and gemcitabine and he gets same pain. We joke that its the chemo working on it. The doc said several patients have had similar pain, and have read within this site several mentions as well - not sure which drug seems to be doing it, but think it might be the gemcitabine, since I see carboplatin being taken with other drugs. Can't remember.

He gets very tired as well. Have found if he leaves work by about 3pm, goes home and takes a short nap and rests for an hour or so, it helps a lot. Also, he snacks on fruit and nuts inbetween meals to keep his energy level up and if he forgets, he usually pays for it - he gets wiped out.

He also had some pain in his arms and legs and they determined it was some of the veins becoming inflamed from the chemo. A heating pad worked like a champ.

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If you drink a lot of fluid before, during, and after chemo it will help with some of the joint and muscle pain. Did they give you anything to have at home for nausea? If not, ask for compuzine or something.

As you go along with chemo it has an accumulative effect and you get knocked down a little more each time. Keep visualizing the cells dying off and hang in there.


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Thanks for all the feedback.

After I posted here I was browsing through the ACS site looking at chemo side effects again whereupon a mighty sneeze fell upon me. :evil:


The spasm of the sneeze sent this wave of pain shooting up the center of my chest into the back of my mouth. It reverberated right through the gums into my sinuses and skull.

I had just been reading about how one of the side effects of several of the chemo drugs was pain in the esophagus and mouth since the drugs tended to attack some fast replicating cells along that track.

Maybe that's the source of this pain. I mentioned how bending over accentuates it. Makes sense. You're bending the esophagus where the cells are trashed.

Another whacky theory? Maybe. Maybe not.

The pain seems to be clearly part of the chemo recoil--and at the tail end of it. The ACS site mentioned the esophagus/mouth thing usually taking place 5 to 14 days after chemo. I'm in that window right now.

For the moment I think I'll hang onto this rather than some weird hypochondrial speculation about tumor cells running wild. I imagine we all do enough of that.

Cheers for now...

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Hey bc,

Your case is practically identical to mine. I had Gemzar/Carbo for the first line of Chemo also. Had some shrinkage but the pleural effusion remained in check and has not returned. I'm coming up on a year next month. I had some mild pain in the chest in the area of the tumor also but it was not as severe as you described and it only lasted 4-5 days after Chemo. Hope this has been helpful and that things work out well for you. Welcome to the site and keep us informed.


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