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Can You Explain to Me?


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My neighbor's sister was recently diagnosed, and it was staged at NSCLC Stage II. First of all...what does this mean?

She told me that there was lymph node involvement in 2 of the nodes, and that they did surgery to remove 1/4 or 1/2????? of one of the lungs.

This is the part I don't understand, and I hope someone can explain it...

She is opting not to have chemo because right now they "have it 50/50. If they do chemo it only gives another 4%." I think this is what I heard and I don't know what that means....in the SCLC world, chemo is VITAL...is it not that way for NSCLC?

Thanks guys...you are the best.


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I'm too new to give anything but a shorthand response but I'm here so here goes.

Stage II is, as I recall, an early stage cancer which is a good thing. It's usually followed by a letter like a or b. You can google for staging if you want. I did but always have to go back because it's a little complicated. NSCLC as I've been told is usually a more contained, slower growing cancer than SCLC--another good thing. The 1/4 or 1/2 probably refers to how much of the lung was removed in the lobectomy (??the right word??)--another good thing since some peoples' profiles refer to a whole lung being removed. As for the "50/50" and "4%" I don't have a clue. As far as I know to chemo or not to chemo isn't related to the cancer being NSCLC or SCLC.

Hopefully someone with more experience on the subject will respond but, in the meantime, I think your friend is not in a really bad situation if you can say that about any kind of cancer.

Judy in Key West

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I am so sorry that another person has to deal with this monster - its just not fair.

I am wondering if the option to chemo or not chemo is her docs, ie., wait and see what the next scan shows, or if it is her choice that she doesn't want chemo right now. Since I am Stage IV and have never had any surgery, I am probably not the best person here to offer advice on whether or not this is standard. If it is her choice, there really isn't a lot you do, but if it is the docs recommendation and she is the least bit hesitant, then maybe she should go for a second opinion.

Wishing her the best and hoping for good results for her.

Hugs - Patti B.

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I am not too sure, but I think that they feel from surgery they removed all the cancer. The Stage II has a few lymph nodes and Stage IIIA like my mom has other nodes. With surgery they hope to get it all. Sometimes they also do chemo after as a preventative in case there are floating cells around. So the chemo can kill any cells that might be floating, but it may not be totally necessary.

That is my two cents worth :)

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All I have ever heard concerning any diagnoses of lung cancer regarding chemotherapy, is that NSCLC Stage IA does not require chemotherapy, nor is any chemotherapy advised.

However, Stage IB is in the mix for chemotherapy - depending.

After that, I think if I were that person (your neighbor's sister) I would seek a second opinion from a reliable source regarding this.

My only credentials are that I have been reading medical news for three plus years.

I know, that is not a diploma, but still, if I were your neighbor's sister I would head for a second opinion forthwith.


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Well, it's confusing as heck to me too, Jen :roll: . I'm with Barbara on getting another opinion. The lymph node involvement and Stage II has me scratching my head. Guess I don't know as much as I thought. Be sure to let us all know what you find out. And must say how very sorry I am to hear of another LC dx. Darnitall :( .


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Did you look above on this Forum NSCLS/MESO Forum page and see that Katie has posted a link about NSCLC Staging? It's right at the top of the page of this forum.

http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/conte ... ?sitearea=

Katie also has another wonderful NSCLC website on the front of the NSCLC/MESO Forum page also.

wehttp://www.cancer.gov/cancerinfo/pdq/ ... ient/bsite

This should answer all your questions.

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Thank you for the information about the staging. and where to find it. That is extremely helpful.

Just moving around this site, I can see that there are so many areas of expertise. It's truly a gold mine.

This is a comfort to a re-"newbie" :roll: like me.


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In a nutshell, chemo has become adjuvant therapy for early stage non-small cell lung cancer. It is thought that it will possibly eradicate some micrometastices (sp?) that might be present but undetectable.

In 2003, results of a study were released that showed some benefit for chemo in some early stage people after they had surgical removal of the tumor. It showed that those who had the chemo had a 5% better long-term survival rate than those who did not, but it is still optional and recommended on a case by case basis. Some patients and their doctors don't feel the risks of chemo are worth the increase in survival rate. It also depends on the general health of the person involved.

As far as staging goes, I think if there is lymph node involvement, the location of the nodes involved determines stage, as in how close the nodes are to the affected lung, which will determine local spread or distant spread.

My disclaimer is that I don't have any medical background, except navigating myself through this terrifying disease. So my education has come through my experience and reading like a madwoman on the computer and this board.


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