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Shelley (MLC)

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Hi everyone. I am curious about the term restaging. My mom was diagnosed with stage lV squamous cell. They are only able to do chemo at this time due to the large size of the masses in her right lung. I have read several posts from people that started out at stage lV and were restaged to 2 or 3 after chemo had shrunk the tumors. If this happens with mom, I assume she would be a candidate for radiation or even surgery. How likely is this? Does it happen that often? I don't want to mention anything about this to her until I have more information. Thanks! Shelley

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Welthy's right. It's really fair to say that even if we see a good response in stage IV, you can't be considered a stage I or II if you take out a metastatic spot with surgery or radiation. If it traveled through the bloodstream to set up a metastatic lesion (which is really what the term metastatic designates), we presume that there are still other micrmetastates traveling through the bloodstream that the scans can't see but are still ready to cause trouble in the future. You really can't be "downstaged" by treatment of advanced disease.

We do sometimes use that term loosely just to say that we're assessing response to treatment. If we're trying to get a 2nd or 3rd PET scan on someone, we can often get it covered by insurance for "restaging", even if that term isn't exactly precise.

Downstaging or restaging is more relevant for early stage patients who have undergone treatment before a potential surgery.

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Thank you so much Dr. West. I was surprised to see someone state that they had been restaged to a "2" after chemo. As I recall, they did associate this restaging with a PET scan. It probably was an insurance related term. I did not bring this up with my mom as it sounded too good to be true. Thanks for taking time to respond. Shelley

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