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Palliative Treatment vs. Intent to Cure


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I have been reading posts on here and scouring the internet for information, but seem to be coming up short on what I am finding. Can someone please tell me about Chemo and Radiation Therapy? The chemotherapy is 3 days per week for 6 weeks with thoracic radiation. Brain mets were found and immediate WBRT was started. Is this palliative or is this intent to treat. I do not know the chemo drugs or what is going on with the radiatioin. I am just looking for answers.



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Hello Flyboy,

I am assuming you are asking about treatment for SCLC. My husband was diagnosed with LD-SCLC in April 2006 and was initially treatment with Carboplatin and Etoposide (VP16) three times per week then off 18 days then on again 3 times per week. This went for 6 cycles, not 6 weeks. He also had 35 daily (5 days per week) of radiation at the same time as the chemo. This treatment was with the intent to treat and cure the cancer. When he was finished with that treatment he was deemed in remission and at that time underwent PCI (prophylactic cranial radiation) for 17 treatments. Also with the intent of any micro metastasis than may have traveled to the brain to be killed off. Unfortunately my husband did have a recurrence and is now under treatment which they are calling palliative care. I don't know if this answers your questions, but it is our story. There are many on this site who are long term SCLC survivors and I am sure you will hear from them. They are a wealth of knowledge.

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From what you describe it sounds like aggressive treatment. I would just ask the doctor right out, “is this the most aggressive treatment?” I think one doctor may call a treatment palliative and another won’t. Sometimes you just have to ask them what they mean.

Stay positive, :)


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I think it is always the initial intent to try to cure and how each individual responds is the unpredictable part. My understanding is the first line of treatment is the best chance for cure. Obviously you are dealing with mets to the brain...are there any additional met sites? I am sorry you are going through this. If you would like, you can share more details so we have a better picture of your circumstances...I am here via PM as well if you have any more questions or need my support.

There are many things to be aware of during WBR.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Well All,

Thanks for the posts and responses. I am sorry I have not checked them until now. There has just been a lot to deal with. The chemo was stopped for a week and in that time, the doctor said that the chemo combo was not working. After much debate, another chemo combo was started. I am not sure what that is. Also, they have started Tomotherapy Radiation as well. Also, in the mean time, they have put her on a morphine drip and oxygen. I am still hopeful, but she is one moment wanting to give up and the next heading out the door for her chemo treatment or radiation. I wish I had more information to share. She now keeps telling me it is time for me to say "Good Bye and Let Go." However, then she reaches out to me. I am just confused. I know we are barely into the treatments. She says things are going to quickly slide downhill and does not see an up-slope at all. I know that with chemo and radiation, things get worse before they get better. I just pray that it is God's PLan that she sticks around for a long time to come. I am still hopeful even if she says she isn't.

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I am really sorry that you had to come here but it is an excellent place to meet and for inspiration. I agree with Flowergirlie, however it also sounds like the cancer is quite agressive - so if they can slow the growth down that is bonus. They have offered her radiation so that should help with the pain and the breathing....I wish you the very best. Heather

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  • 1 month later...

Okay All,

I must apologize for the delay in this. My friend has had surgery for the mets to the brain, two surgeries in fact. The doctors left the brain "open" to take care of more of the tumor after the swelling had reduced. They have been giving her an oral chemo drug (etoposide I believe). They have now started her on IV Chemo every other day for the time being. I wish I knew which one they were using. I presume it is either Cisplatin or Carboplatin. Her spirits seem much better, though she does not want to be in the hospital for all of this.

My prayers are with all of you.

Eric aka Flyboy

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