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lilswede

My Uncle has been diagnosed with small cell lung cancer

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Hi I'm LeAnn. I'm here because I love my Uncle Gary with all my heart. I live in Oklahoma and he lives in Alabama. The doctor saw something in his lung that was too deep to biopsy so they had to remove the upper lobe of his right lung on Friday. The results of the biopsy confirmed it is small cell lung cancer. The doctor was happy that it was caught so early. He said he had never caught this type of cancer in such an early stage. I am here to find out about the survival rate of this type of cancer. I don't know if it has spread to other areas but to the best of my knowledge the only cancer was the one they removed when they removed the lobe. After he recuperates from the surgery the he has to start treatment to keep the cancer from spreading assuming it hasn't spread already. Has anyone survived this type of cancer? Is there hope for my Uncle Gary? I know it is the kind that spreads rapidly but it was caught very early because he was having a cat scan for a check up for something else when they saw something in his lung so he really didn't even have any symptoms yet. Does that mean that maybe they got it all and that with chemotherapy and or radiation treatment it's possible that he may be cancer free? I hope there is someone out there who can answer my questions who has had experience with this and whoever you are I hope you are now living a cancer free life. Thank you. LeAnn

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Hi LeAnn. First let me say that I am so very sorry that you have to go through this with your uncle. I understand your feelings since most of my family lives in NY and I live in NC. Distance is so difficult for family members when you feel a need to be in 2 places at the same time. The main question to ask is whether he has non-small cell or small cell cancer since they are different. My cancer is Small Cell. I'm hoping that my recent experience may help you and your uncle to find the courage to fight your terrible battle. Last Aug., just 3 days before my 50th birthday, I was diagnosed with Extensive SCLC Stage IV. It had spread to both lungs, liver, lymph nodes and bones. Doctors refused to give me any false hope, and during a 2nd opinion appt out-of-state I was told to go home, gets my things in order, and enjoy any days I had left... I would not see another Christmas, the birth of my newest grandson, nor my 51st birthday. Not very encouraging! Well, I must say, I've survived 2 out of 3, and I'm soon to celebrate my next birthday! I believe that I went through every available emotion, especially fear and anger and wanting to place blame, until finally coming to terms with my given condition. I finally decided to be a "survivor" and not a "victim." I live with the daily thought that I have the cancer and the cancer doesn't have me! That was the day I chose to keep a positive attitute, though some days were harder than others, but I planned to conquer the biggest fight of my life. Since surgery and radiation was not an option due to its being so wide-spread, my only option was chemo treatments. I've been on these chemo treatments 8 out the last 12 months and I truly believe that I feel the best that I have in well over a year or more. I'm not saying that I don't have bad days, I do but I cope with them, telling myself that tomorrow will be a new day! I continue to cope with terrific back pain due to the cancer eating "holes" in my spine and fatigue but I refuse to allow it to keep me down. I am now within weeks of my 1 year anniversary of being diagnosed and, also, my next birthday. I recently had another ct-scan and the results were excellent!!! The results revealed that my cancer is limited to a very small area (naked to the human eye) in my liver. Now, I'm planning to do a few more series of chemo and then another scan in Sept. If all goes well, there is a possibility that I will be prescribed a "chemo pill" and hopefully I'll no longer need the treatments. I can only wait and pray. Although this type of cancer is incurible, it's not untreatable. My doctors now tell me that they believe I'm a miracle in the works. My best suggestion to you and your uncle is to stay positive and keep your faith. Prayers are so very powerful. I, as well as others, have been so blessed!!! In closing, please know that your uncle and you will remain in my daily prayers... WE still have our hopes and dreams!!! God Bless!!! Vicki

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You are a wonderful and remarkable woman for sharing your story with me and so soon after I posted. you are certainly full of hope and sound like a survivor. I want to learn as much as I can about this disease and until today, I never even gave it any thought. I just assumed that whatever they saw in Uncle Gary's lung would be something benign. It's not that I'm unrealistic or niave. I lost a son five years ago in an accident. I know bad things to happen. But the doctors were hopeful that it wouldn't be cancer. Now that we know it is I want to talk to survivors like yourself and learn everything there is to know about it. I should be asleep now but I am consumed with learning about this disease. Everything I'm reading about it makes it sound so dreadful. There must be long term survivors. Uncle Gary is otherwise relatively healthy. They only found it early because he was having regular cat scans for a problem with his adrenal gland four years ago that had something to do with a spider bite. The cancer area was very small and the doctor said he was happy because this is the first time he ever found it so early in a patient. I guess there will have to be further tests to know if it's spread to other areas. My Aunt is in shock right now and doesn't understand any of it. I don't think she is ready to find out the bleak prognosis of this type of cancer. I'm so happy to hear that your treatment is working sucessfully for you. I hope you will keep me updated and most of all I hope your cancer goes away and never comes back. God bless you and I pray for your good health. Thank you.

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Welcome, LeAnn-

You definitely have cause for hope. Your uncle, like my wife Bev, is very fortunate to get a leg up on SCLC by having the surgery. Bev was also determined to use every weapon in the book and without delay. She is now approaching 3 years since diagnosis, with no evidence of disease (NED).

It’s a tough, complicated battle, but you have just found the best resource for information and hope. The warriors on this board KNOW what it’s all about.

Best Wishes,

Kim

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Welcome LeAnn from one Okie to another. I was born and raised in Tulsa and currently live just west a bit out by Lake Keystone. I do not have SCLC, I have NSCLC. All the statitics you find on the internet, in my opinion, are outdated and please remember that not a single one of us is a number but a living breathing person that can be very determined to beat ALL the odds. If your Uncle can maintain an upbeat attitude and a good sense of humor it will all go far towards his healing. It is great that they caught it early and could do surgery. The fact that he is otherwise very healthy should give him a leg up on fighting the disease. Again, welcome and God bless.

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LeAnn,

Welcome to the site. You will find many of us here have defied all predictions. Cancer is very treatable. You have already received some very good advice. Having the right attitude is most important.

Stay positive, :)

Ernie

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Thanks for all of your replies!! I am overwhelmed with gratitude!! You all had very encouraging words and I wish you all good health!! I will update you when I get more information about my Uncle's condition. I don't know when that will be. I think he gets out of the hospital tomorrow and has to recuperate from his surgery before he can start cancer treatments. You're all wonderful!!

Love,

LeAnn

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Lee Ann--There is much hope for your uncle! You will learn a lot here and will meet a lot of long-term survivors. The fact that it was caught early is excellent!

Susan

ps--I'm in Alabama too--War Eagle!

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Hello LeAnn and welcome,

I cannot add much to the great comments you have already gotten but will say it sounds very, very hopeful for your uncle to beat this.

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

Christine

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Hi, LeAnn, welcome to the LCSC! I missed your post earlier but see you've received some great advice.

It puzzles me why so many doctors, including oncologists, seem eager to bombard patients with depressing statistics, often on the first visit. Some even do this without explaining that the numbers represent historical averages (or medians or means) of a large group of people with a similar diagnosis and have no direct relevance to any specific patient. As a hypothetical example, telling John Doe that only 50 percent of people with his particular diagnosis have survived beyond 5 years IS NOT THE SAME as telling John Doe that HE has only a 50 percent chance of being alive in 5 years. Not the same at all! No matter how bleak the statistics may be, there are always some who come out on the winning side. Who do you think the winners are most likely to be? Great, you've got the picture!

I honestly don't know what the historical prognosis is for my subtype and stage. I've never asked or looked it up, no doctor has tried to tell me, and I really don't care. When I first met my oncologist I told him straight out that the curable versus incurable question was not a concern since I've been dealing with other incurable conditions for years, that I wanted the best treatment he could give me consistent with a decent quality of life, and that my goal is to keep the cancer beat back in the corner until I'm old enough to die of something else. A few months later, when I said something similar as he was leaving the exam room, he put his hands on my shoulders, looked me in the eye, and said "Ned, that's it -- quality of life!"

By the way, I'm sort of an Okie, an ex-Okie at least. I grew up in Texas, but spent the three happiest years of my childhood in Altus, where we moved to be near relatives (cousins close to my age!) during World War II. Then toward the beginning of my Air Force career I attended pilot training at Vance AFB (near Enid) and stayed on as a flight instructor for three years. OK is one of my favorite states.

Aloha,

Ned

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