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Radiation therapy question


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I am new to this board. My 66 year young father was diagnosed with stage 3b, NSCLC lung cancer the middle of august and was given a 3 to 9 month prognosis. He has lost about 30 pounds since the middle of July and seems to be wasting away. He does not want to do chemo (the docs said it wouldn't cure him anyway) but has agreed to radiation therapy in the hopes it will stop the progress of his mass in the lung. Right now the mass has grown enough where it is affecting his vocal cords and his voice is very hoarse and hard to understand. He started this past Monday and today will be his 5th treatment (he is to do this for 7 weeks, 5x a week). They are doing a scan or xray (not sure which) today. Isn't this early to do a scan? I am concerned he won't see any improvement after just a week and get even more discouraged. Also, is it possible the radiation could shrink the mass? It has grown but is in just one area of his lung. I live many states away and will visit for the 2nd time soon but so far, have not been there for any doctor appts. His weight loss has concerned me. I wish there was medicine to affect his taste buds! Thank you in advance. This is the hardest thing I have ever dealt with in my life. He hasn't stopped smoking as his opinion is he is dying anyway and he wants to enjoy at least being able to smoke. His spirits are very low right now.

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Hello Dutch and welcome!

I am sorry to read about your dad but glad you have found us. This site is full of caring and compassionate people who are more than willing and able to share their knowledge and advice with you.

I personally do not have answers for most of your questions, but I know that the others will be posting to you soon and help you out.

As for the appetite? There are several meds out there to help stimulate it. Have your dad ask his doctor about it.

Keep posting and let us know how we can help you along this journey.

Sending prayers and many positive thoughts to you and your dad,


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So sorry to hear about your Dad. I surely hope his spirits pick up -- it is so important to have a good attitude. This diagnosis is a real whammy to the gut, so he still may be reeling from the news. Food is just as important. My husband has an ongoing battle to keep his weight up.

As far as the x-rays go, Tony said they did several on him during his 15 radiation sessions. They weren't about how much the tumor shrank, more of a progress and positioning thing we think. Someone on the board may know the exact reason they do interim xrays during radiation. Our Onc didn't do any scans for shrinkage until six weeks after the radiation to allow the maximum effects to take place in his lung.

Good luck to your father and God bless,


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My Dad was prescribed Megace but he has been too scared to try it due to the side effects listed on the bottle. His doctor talked to him again about that - hopefully he will be coerced. He is a tough cookie. This is a guy that never even took Tylenol if he didn't have to. He hates taking medicine.

His radiologist did confirm the xrays are just to finely tune the target of the tumor - not to ascertain if the radiation is working or not. Whew!

We'll see - the docs today were concerned he did not "feel" any different after one week of treatment - i.e. didn't feel better. That surprised me but since I wasn't there, I didn't get to say so. Just seems too soon to ask that question? My Dad did feel like the minor discomfort he was having (pain) is now better. So that might be a good sign. But the doctors still seemed negative that he didn't feel better.

Thanks for all the info. It is tough to see him choose not to do chemo and to see how bad he feels. It makes me feel more in control of the situation (even though I know I am not!) to have all my facts correct.

One disconcerting thing that happened is we found out my Dad did NOT have a brain MRI as we had thought. We were under the impression that he had one and all was clear with his brain. In actuality, it was a CT scan of his skull to diagnose a growth on the outside of his skull. The growth is benign but who knows what is going on with his brain and he won't do the MRI. Doesn't want to know since he has chosen not to do chemo. I am so frustrated with this - I just want him to have every test and fight as much as possible. I know that he feels lousy though, so I am trying to accept his decisions.

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Since dad doesn't want chemo, check out this website for Cyberknife...www.cyberknifesupport.org/forum

They have real doctors you can ask questions and they don't do chemo. Only radiosurgery (radiation)It is new technology. They are located in several locations...Hope this helps, knowledge is power...Keep us posted.

Sending prayers and blessings.


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