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NSCLC Adenocarcenoma Stage IIB or IIIA


Krusentjerna

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Hi,

I am new on this forum. My Mother came to visit me in New York in May 2006 and broke her wrist. They did a chest x-ray before operating her wrist and discovered a tumor in her lung. When she got back to Sweden they did a bronchoscopy and numerous other exams and told her she had NSCLC and that they were going to operate. This operation was unsuccessful. They were unable to remove the tumor and noticed that it had spread to her blood vessels. End of July she started chemotherapy (which is still going on) consisting of weekly treatments of Gemzar and Cisplatin. Last week they did an x-ray to see if the chemo had helped shrink the tumor but it had not. It has not grown and has not spread but has not shrunk either. The Doctor told her that she has 4 more treatments of the chemo and then she will get a 2 months rest. If the chest x-ray after these two months of rest shows that the tumor has still not shrunk they are going to start her on Avastin. Her blood values have been going up and down throughout all of this. She has been taking all sorts of vitamins and the Chinese mushroom called Yun-zhi to help her normalize the white blood cells. It has actually helped alot. I was wondering if anyone knows anything about Gemzar and Avastin. I don't understand how the tumor has not shrunk after all of these treatments. I have also read some articles on Avastin and it seems to be a powerful drug as it prevents the tumor from getting any oxygen and kills it's blood supply. But I have also read about all the dangers of Avastin that can result in death. My Mother has never smoked or been subject to second hand smoking, she is also in good health overall and is incredilbly strong and positive. I would appreciate any advice or recommendation I am so worried and will do anything for her to get better. I have looked into alternative treatments but I want to make sure that I don't do anything that can go against the chemo drugs.

Thank you,

Nina

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Welcome Nina. Some drugs just don't work on some people. Gemzar worked well for my husband but Taxotere didn't do anything and they stopped it early. He is currently on Avastin and that is holding things stable. He tolerates the Avastin pretty well. I hope your mom finds something that helps soon.

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Hello Nina and welcome

I am sorry you had need to find a site like this, but glad you have posted and told us about your mother.

I cannot offer any advice about the chemo, but there are so many wonderful people on this site that will be along to offer you words of wisdom regarding it.

Please keep us posted and let us know how we can help you.

My best to you and your mom

Chris

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Hi, Nina, and welcome. As Ry said, sometimes the chemo shrinks the tumor, sometimes it holds it steady (no growth is a good thing), and sometimes it doesn't help at all. Each person is different and that is why it is good to try different things. My wife was also a nonsmoker who never lived with second hand smoke. During her survivorship of 4 years, she had 5 different chemos with varying results (see bio). I, too, hope your mom finds something that works well for her. Don

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A very important thing to remember is to let your moms oncologist know all she is taking, every little thing including Mushrooms for medical reasons. Food and Drug interactions can be deadly

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HI Nina,

I'm very sorry to hear about your mother. You did come to a good place though.

I was on Avastin from the start of my treatments for 15 months. At that time I had slight progression, so they stopped my Avastin. I had relatively no side effects from this chemo. Hopefully your mom will do well on it.

Joan

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Hello

Barry has just had his third round of avastin together with alimta. The scan after two rounds showed the tumors are shrinking. Side effects are fairly mild. Three days after infusion he feels tired and a bit below par but this goes after a few days. Otherwise he feels normal.

Best wishes

Jennie

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Hi Nina,

Welcome to the board. There are any number of different drugs that can be used for treatment and usually they start on the one they feel will be most effective. I started on Gemzar with Carboplatin. It was effective and I did 11 cycles - but it really did a number on my blood counts, so they stopped it. Then we tried Alimta - no success. And now I'm on Taxotere - after the first CT, minor shrinkage. I will take stable.

Avastin has many good reports and they don't give it to patients who they feel have a likekihood of complications - location of tumor, brain mets etc.

Good luck.

Mary

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Nina, (my Grandmother's name! :D )

Welcome to the board and sorry about your Mom's diagnosis.

I echo Randy's message about telling the Doctor everything your Mother is taking. It is a rule of thumb with our Doc that we go over every little thing Tony takes every visit. Some of the herbal and other supplements can actually undercut the effectiveness of the chemo. So please check with your Mom's Doc about the supplements. Our Onc keeps Tony away from any anti-oxidant type supplements. In the world of chemo and cancer, toxic is good.

As far as the chemo working or not, I've learned that each individual is so different that what may work for one person with the exact same cancer, won't work for the next person. It's a frustrating fact, but don't despair as there are many more chemo therapies out there for your Mom. Tony went through 8 cycles of Taxol/Carbo (every 21 days) and then 12 cycles of Gemzar/Taxotere (Day 1 & 8 every 21 days) in a row. He also had 15 rads for a tumor that unexpectedly popped up during treatment. After 8 cycles of the first combo his cancer had shrunk, but it wasn't until the end of 20 cycles that we zapped most of it and he still had the primary mass! Although the mass was smaller and less active, it was still there. So, I guess that some people have cancer that is more resistant to chemo. Changing up the doublet combination of chemo seemed to make the cancer shrink faster, but it is hard to say. Tony did have significant progression after a 3 month break and he is now on Tarceva, which we call "Chemo-lite". Doc says the fallback plan is to trot out the big guns for Plan D. So you see, if your Mom can physically handle it, you can keep going with treatment. Tony has been very lucky to tolerate so much treatment as well as he has done.

I know how hard this is for you, but hang in there and tell your Mom to keep plugging along.

Wishing you all the best for shrinkage, shrinkage, shrinkage,

Welthy

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Nina,

Hi! Welcome to the board. You came to the right place. I don’t know how large your mom’s tumor was, but the fact that it did not grow is a good sign. A pet scan gives a better indication on whether the tumor is still malignant. I still have about 1.5cm of what looks like tumor but it is only scar tissue. Avastin is a targeted drug. I had chemo, Carboplatin, Taxol and Tarceva all at the same time. Both Avastin and Tarceva have had some good results. You might ask about Tarceva. A lot of times the doctor says it works best in non smoking Asian women. The last time I checked I don’t meet any of those qualifications. I was stage IV and after 3 months of treatment I was cancer free. I had no bad side effects from any of my treatment. I also took a lot of supplements; one of them was AHCC a mushroom extract that is used in Japan. I did check with my oncologist before taking any of them. There were some he did not want me to take within 24 hours of the chemo. I can send you the list if you want. Any questions I can answer let me know.

Stay Positive

Ernie

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Very sorry to hear about your mom. I have not been around second hand smoke or ever smoked but was diagnosed with IIIB Adno in June 2004. It was quite a shock. The IV chemo kept me stable but did not shrink the cancer. Iressa put me into remission with the lung cancer but have had three brain mets. At this point I am doing well. I count my blessings every day.Cancer has made me a much more thankful person. God is gracious and merciful. No matter what happens in my life on earth I know the good things are all from God. Will be praying for your mom to find some treatment that is effective for the cancer. pammie

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