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If chemo shrinks tumor & affected lymph nodes...?

Guest hearrean

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Guest hearrean

I had a really nice conversation via the telephone yesterday with one of the Nurse Practitioners in the Thoracic center at MD Anderson. I had actually called to discuss with them the different opinions I had gotten from their Thoracic Surgeon & their Thoracic Oncologist. I wanted her to be aware that my intention is definately to be a surgery candidate (depending upon the results of the chemo treatments). She indicated to me she definately would make sure the Surgeon knew this, etc.

She then made an interesting comment though. Knowing that I will be starting chemo treatments soon (probably next week), she said this: "But what happens if chemo totally shrinks the tumor where there is none visible? Our challenge would then be to decide how to proceed since there would be nothing obvious to remove". I looked at that as a positive statement.

But then after we hung up, I thought of something else that maybe someone here can answer. I not only have the primary tumor, but (2) regional lymph nodes affected. How does chemo work on those? Obviously it doesn't get rid of the lymph nodes, so what happens? Would it simply kill the cancer cells affecting the nodes? Wouldn't the nodes still need to be removed even if the primary tumor disappeared? Any input would be appreciated..


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From my understanding chemo does take care of cancerous lymph nodes as well. I know people who have had chemo with lymph node invlovlement and the lymph nodes were gone as was the tumor. Anything is possible. I also know people who have had surgery to removed the tumor (only) and just to be on the SAFE side they have chemo as well, in case there are lymph nodes sitting there that were missed or not picked up by CT's or PETS.

That's why they did chemo on me in CASE there were other lymph nodes they didn't see or get and of course in case it had spread and they couldn't see it. My answer would be, YES chemo kills tumors and it kills cancerous lymph nodes, amoung other things!

The person I would ask if I were you would be our Dr. Jack West. www.onctalk.com

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