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Yes or No to Radiation

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I posted earlier today about my 65yr old mom, who was dx with SCC and NSCC stage 4 (smoker for 50yrs) She is on her 2nd round of chemo and they want to introduce radiation 1 x day for 17 weeks). She is very reluctent and so are we but after reading some of the posts, is seemed like everyone opted for it. I am not sure how to help her make an informed decision. The side-effects will leave her unable to travel, enjoy good food and play with her grandchildren, basically all the things she loves to do. Did I mention that she is asymptomatic even with the chemo. I know that can change, especially from the cummeraltive effects of the chemo. What kind of questions should I be asking. The doctor seems to think it is very necessary. Not sure if he is really concerned about her quality of life or thinking he can cure her (did I mention it is stage 4 and the tumor is on the edge of the lung with projections surrounding the heart), wish it was possible.


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At Stage 4, they wouldn't usually be doing radiation for curative intent. It would be to alleviate a problem of some sort, I believe. Is he concerned about the location of the tumor obstructing her airway, or interfering with something else? It would be my guess that is the case, and maybe that information would help you make the decision.

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Wow. This is a tough one. If your mom was Small Cell, I would say ABSOLUTELY, but beings that she is NSCLC I don't know how to answer you.

I guess if I were you I would be very clear with the doc that you need to know risks both ways so you can weigh those and make an informed decision.

Hopefully someone else here can give you a better idea of what to look for.



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I'm sorry about your Mom's diagnosis.

My husband is Stage IV and did have one chemo resistant tumor radiated last year. His was away from the heart and only needed 15 total rads to nuke it. All of his other cancer was responding to his chemo except for that one lil' bugger, so the Doc broke with standard protocol and did the rads. (That tumor is now back, which I found hard to understand, but it's the least of his current worries.)

Please ask the onc. what his purpose is for recommending radiation. Maybe he feels that due to the proximity to the heart it is important to nuke. Interesting...

Have you run this by Dr. West at Onctalk.com?

Best wishes and let us know what he has to say.


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I think the doctor is trying to be very aggressive and in my opinion he should be. Having both kind of LC is very serious and should be treated very aggresseive.

If it were me, I would do all they wanted to throw at me be it chemo, radiation or what ever. As least if they offer her all those things, they are offering her a chance to live. If they don't offer them then her chances at life maybe not be so great. It's really a 50/50 deal.

Having lung cancer for most of us is a major fight, and most of us have to do all we can to beat this monster.

I've seen many people with the same dx.s as your mom do both treatments and some. It's not a picnic, but it's very doable. I did both 12 years ago and I'm still here today. I'm not at ALL SORRY I did what I did. It gave me 12 years.

God bless and Good luck.

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It would be good to find out the 'why' of doing the radiation. For two years they told my mom radiation was too risky for her, and recently they said it needed to be done (tumor was growing so rapidly). Mom has a new grandbaby coming in November, and she'd like to be here for that, so she agreed to do radiation.

Mom has been hospitalized twice now b/c of the radiation. She had the esophagus burn, which made it all but impossible to eat, and she crashed. She now has radiation pneumonitis, and she is back in. Her tumor has shrunk slightly. She is wondering if it was worth it.

That said, MANY people here have been extremely successful with radiation. I would ask the dr. if this is curatve or palliative. Be as informed as you can before making a decision.

I pray for bery good results for you guys.

:) Kelly

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