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starting radiation


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I recently posted about my Mom - 83 y/o diagnosed with NSCLC probably IIIA. SHe tried a course of taxol/carbo, but didn't tolerate the taxol. In the meantime she saw her radiation oncologist who recommends starting the radiation sooner rather than later because she has developed some hoarsness.

SO with the new plan, she began Carbo/etopside 10/10 with both day one and etopside only days 2 and 3. SHe meet with her medical oncologist 12/22 (I'm not sure why - maybe just to check in) then with her radiation oncologist 12/28 - presumably to schedule her radiation - she had all her mapping done last week.

ANy suggestions for her. I'm a little worried that both chemo and radiation together may be a little tough on her. She tolerated the first round of chemo very well - no nausea, just a little fatigue.

She is otherwise healthy, and pretty feisty. she has tons of support, so hopefully she'll do OK.

I'd love any insight on what to expect, and how best to help her through it.



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Hi Jen,

Glad to hear that they are being aggressive with your Mom's treatments. It will be hard on her, but probably well worth it. From our experience the fatigue will increase significantly with more chemo and the rads on top of that.

The radiologist will explain all of the side effects when she sees him. I think it is a good thing that the oncologist is following her closely too!

Best of luck to your Mom. Feisty... I like that! :D


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I was just doing a bit of reading, and it seems that Carbo/etopside is often given to older folks because it tends to be more tolerable than other combinations and since she's gonna be getting concurrent radiation, I supose they're trying to limit adverse effects. I'm still gonna ask, though

thanks again for your response


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The chemo that is given with radiation isn't the same as the chemo approaches that are done without radiation. That's because some kinds of chemo radiosensitize, or make the radiation effects stronger, which can be good in moderation but can also cause more toxicity if the effect is too strong. Certain chemo combinations work better with radiation, and cisplatin or carboplatin with etoposide are among the approaches that have been better tested with radiation.

Although the aggressive course of the two approaches at the same time is a double edged sword of balancing side effects vs. anticancer effectiveness, it is possible that the oncologist chose carboplatin/etoposide with radiation based on some research that was published a few years ago that showed this combination was feasible and looked quite encouraging with radiation in older patients.

I hope that helps.

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