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Great news about mom and a question

Andrea S.

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Hello, I am mostly a lurker - I don't post much, but I read often and think of all of you. Anyway, I have some good news to share about my mother and I am also interested in some advice.

Some history: my mom (now age 55) was dx'ed with stage IV. nsclc in April 2003, with mets to the lymph nodes in the mediastienum (sp?), esophagous, armpits and diaphram. The prognosis was grim and we were devastated. She was placed on a clinical trial (I don't know the name) and did quite well - barely anything for side effects. She had 7 cycles (the dr. said most people only tolerate about 3 cycles of this drug), which significantly reduced the cancer. The chemo then got too toxic and she was placed on a standard regimen of carbo/taxol. After 1 cycle, the dr. noted the lymph nodes in her armpits had increased, although everything in the chest continued to look excellent. This was right before Thanksgiving and we were so scared. My mom became so depressed and talked about giving up. The dr. ordered a PET scan, which showed that although the tumor had grown, it was now completely localized in the armpit area and they felt surgery was now an option.

Surgery was last week and so far, it appears to have been very successful. They removed everything they could see - 11 nodes - and she now appears to be cancer free. It's a miracle and we couldn't be more grateful.

Okay - my question. How long can we expect her to be in remission? I've read from others on this sight that lung cancer usually re-occurs, esp. when it is advanced. Is it possible that she could make it to the 5-year mark and be considered "cured"? What are her chances? She is in excellent health otherwise, has quit smoking and they may do radiation once she is healed from surgery. Any comments?

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Tell your mom we are so happy for her. As for your question as to how long one can go before it could return, none of us knows that answer, sure wish we did. Just tell your mom to enjoy each day to the fullest and try not to think about what might happen for it may never.....

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