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Crunch Time.


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As some of you already know I've run into some problems at the VA medical center here in San Diego. A lot of dithering around about how to treat my cancer. The docs at the VA say my cancer is right on the boarder line between being operatable and non-operatable.

Well, this week I have two more appointments. One on Tuesday with the radi-oncologist and one on Wednesday with the surgon. The folks at the VA are gonna be a bit shocked at my change in attitude over all this. I'm now over the shock of the original diagnosis and have been busy as heck doing a TON of research on my own and have a list of questions I WILL get answered by the end of my Wednesday appontment. At that point *I* will make a decision on how I want this treated. As long as the docs are willing to work WITH me everything will be fine. But if I run into any static, well, that big BOOOM! you hear comming from the southwest will be me raising the roof. :).

Now a question for you all. In my research I ran into a couple of studies that show a very significant increase in the survival rate of folks that have what I have (NSCLC, Stage 3a) in those that recieved pre-operation radiation and chemotherapy even though their cancer was considered resectionable from the get go. Five year survival rate jumped from 15 to 20 percent in those that just had the surgery to over 30 percent in those that recieved chemo before the surgery. If my cancer is operatable this is the way I think I want to go. But I was wondering if any of you folks have had personal experience with this.

Thanks in advance.


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Here is a good article. Having chemo/radiaiton before surgery does seem to help. However, you must consider that there may be harsh side effects. The article below says the chemo/radiation may create problems for surgery later.

In any case you may want to research ethyol (amifostine). Also research about anti-oxidants and other herbs (astragalus, reishi, maitake, psk mushrooms) they may boost the immune system

http://www.cancerconsultants.com/patien ... lc_stage3a

Well what ever you decide you are right you need to tell the docs what you want - of course their input will help.

You do have to fight for what you want - the doctors will hopefully colaborate and work with you not against.

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My husband had chemo and radiation with the hope that it would make him a surgical candidate by shrinking the tumor away from the major vessels etc. I think this is pretty much standard protocol.

A word of caution:

Make sure as you start radiation they know you are a possible surgical candidate. If you receive too many rads, surgery will NOT be possible because the area will not heal. The fact that they were considering surgery on my husband was not communicated to the radiation oncologist. We just happened to mention one day that we were going for a second opinion on surgery and I thought the guy was gonna have a stroke :shock: . Someone on this board was unable to have surgery because they had too many rads.

All the best to you. Give em hell.

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Absolutely--make sure that your radiation oncologist is on board about surgery from the beginning. Mine still doesn't seem to get that he gave me more radiation than he should have since I was going for surgery. I am not a surgical candidate for other reasons right now, but it was a shock to be told that I might never be a candidate for surgery because of the radiation that I got in order to make me a candidate for surgery!


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If it were not for this board and Becky I would not have gotten the surgery. I had a mediasteinosocpy; whereby, my surgeon inserted a scope through a tiny incision in my throat to determine cancer spread to the lymph nodes in the center of my chest. Had there not been cancer, he would have flipped me over and performed a lobectomy.

My surgeon closed me up and referred me to an oncologist and radiaologist. He said come back if there is shrinkage, but don't wait. I will not do it if you wait!!!! I did not no anything about too much radiation preventing surgery until I saw Becky's post. My radiologist and onc.did not agre with the surgeon about surgery. I had the call and speak to my surgeon. MY onc said he agreed that it may up my survival rate by 5 %, but the radiation doc wasn't so optimistic. My surgeon sent him a copy of a study confirming all of this. The radiation doctor was unsure then of the amount of radiation to give me.

Some have the surgery first then treatment, but the treatment definately made the surgery easier for my surgeon to remove the tumor and hot nodes. MY docotor likes to do the surgery about four weeks after treatment. It was no picnic, but when it comes to life verses the alternative.....well you know the answer to that! Keep us updated!

God Bless,


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Hi Dean,

I was the one who couldn't have surgery because the Radiation Onc. gave me too many rads. There was no communication between my onc and radiation onc. This was at the beginning of my treatments and I didn't know I was getting too much radiation and had no reason to ask. I thought the doctors knew what they were doing. I didn't know about this forum back in March. I was told by my second opinion onc at UCLA that I was not eligible for surgery. He did refer me to Thorasic Surgeon at UCLA who told me, when I get tired of chemo to come back and see him. Said I would not heal due to scar tissue. Chances of leaving hospital really low. Pretty scary.

I look at it this way, the Lord is my healer. I leave this in his hands, it is way too much for me to worry about. Praying for you...

God Bless


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