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First of all, let me say thank you to all of you for making yourselves available for support. This is the first time I've ever joined an online forum of any kind. My name is Butch and my 83 yr old (non smoking) mother was diagnosed in March with stage IV NSCLC, metastatic to her chest lymph nodes and liver. The most recent CT scan shows no significant change to the lung or lymph nodes, but dramatic growth in her liver. Her Oncologist has recommended Gemzar as treatment. However, Mom's initial response (which we will respect) is no treatment at all. Since finding all of this out, I've become the most determined insomniac searching the web for answers at all hours of the night. Would anyone like to comment or make suggestions on what path to follow next? I've read quite a bit about Avastin, but haven't had the opportunity to discuss it with her Doctor yet. Any comments about it's benefits or drawbacks would be greatly appreciated. Mom's next follow-up is in 1 week, wherein she is expected to decide whether or not she wants to pursue treatment. Thank you again for your help and support.

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Hello! I'm so sorry you had to seek us out, but glad you found us. I think we can all identify with the late night searches for information about this stupid disease.

Has your mom received any treatment at all to this point? A lot of treatment decisions are made taking into account the patient's overall health at the time of disgnosis. My own mom was 76 at diagnosis with stage IC NSCLC. She was terrified of the chemo (carbo-taxol), but found it easier than she feared. Not that it was fun, but it was something she could handle. I wonder if your mom's response is based on a belief that (1) nothing will help and (2) that the chemo will be too unpleasant.

A lot depends on her overall health otherwise. Is she ambulatory? Does she care for herself? Her oncologist will take all of those things into consideration.

Another option might be Tarceva. It is an oral targeted treatment. It has some side effects, but many folks on this board have had a very good response to it.

Finally, there is another source of excellent information about Lung Cancer and its treatments. www.cancergrace.org is a physician mediated site with information about treatments and the latest research and doctors who will answer your questions.

Let us know how your mom does and don't forget that we are here to support you as you support your mom through this journey.


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No, Mom is very strong and active for her age. My father died in '86 due to complications from emphysema and she re-married about six years ago. She and my step-father act like kids and live a very happy life. She has type 2 diabetes, but you would never know anything is wrong with her. When the doctor asks her if she's noticed any weight-loss, she replies "I wish!" buy other than that she says she feels fine. Only a little discomfort when she eats a full meal. I'll follow the link you sent when I have more time this evening. Thanks for the message!

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Hi, Butch, welcome to the group. I heartily second Susan's suggestion to post a similar question at GRACE. Many of us are "dual citizens" and have the same usernames there as here, which makes identification easier. We use Lungevity/LCSC for support, coping tips, etc., and GRACE for more detailed medical issues.

One thing you should try to find out, as it affects the treatment options available, is the subtype of your mom's NSCLC — is it adenocarcinoma (the most common), squamous cell, or large cell?

Avastin is generally not used by itself, except as a "maintenance" treatment after being teamed up with other chemos. You can look at my treatment sequence below to see one way this is done.

As Susan mentioned, Tarceva (a daily pill) might be a good choice for your mom. It's used for both adenocarcinoma and squamous (not sure about large cell, as that's sort of rare). Tarceva's main side effects are a skin rash along with some fatigue and occasional diarrhea. But most patients don't get the low blood counts, nerve damage (neuropathy), and other serious side effects that are common with some of the more harsh IV chemos.

Take care, and I hope to see you also at GRACE. Aloha,


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Hi, welcome to the place no one wants to have to be but you couldn't find a more supportive and informative group. Susan hit every point I would have made, and her mom is my hero so good luck to your mom and keep us posted.

Judy in KW

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