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We finally have a diagnosis for step dad


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Stage IV nsclc squamous carcinoma. I hope I'm saying that right. Main tumour is at the top of the left lung at windpipe. Many smaller tumours in pleura and spread to lymph nodes. DSD has decided to do radiation and chemo. Radiation starts next Thursday for an initial five days and then another possible five. Will target main tumour that is causing pain and swallowing problems. Then several three week cycles of taxol and carboplatin chemo. We will continue at the cancer centre three hours from home because we are very happy with the care and facilities.

Will see how he responds to treatment and go from there. His doctor put it such that 50% of people being treated would see an improvement in symptoms or dely in worsening symptoms. And would extend life 6-8 months for that 50%. So we can hope. So far he is very positive and just wants to take each day as it comes. We will focus on trying to keep him healthy and happy

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Exactly my recipe of disease.


Did the biopsy include a genetic mutation type?  If it did not, then you can have the pathologist test the sample for genetic mutation (pathology samples are always kept).  This is important because of new treatment methods that are very successful in treating NSC Squamous cell LC.  Here is the youtube cite for Dr. Lecia Sequist's video on advances in biomarker profiling for lung cancer - 


Okay upper lobe left lung tumor location, proximity to trachea and radiation will yield challenges in radiation treatment.  I had those also.  Pain may increase as may swallowing difficulty.  It sounds like the radio oncologist is going to incrementally treat the main tumor to shrink it stages to minimize radiation induced side effects.  Get a prescription for "magic mouthwash" or that elixir given to radiation patients to relive irritated throat and dry cough.  Have some chloraseptic throat spray on hand.  During my radiation, I lived on Halls lemon drop cough drops.


I don't know if he is going to have adjunct chemotherapy concurrent with radiation or full strength infusions.  Normally, during first line treatment, radiation is the primary therapy and chemo is secondary.  When this is the case, the chemo is referred to as adjunct therapy.  If adjunct, then it is typically given at a lower strength then when administered alone.  Ask your doctor to qualify if the taxol - carboplatin combination therapy is full strength or adjunct strength.  If adjunct, expect fewer side effects from chemo.  Here is a primmer on chemo side effects that might be interesting reading - http://www.lungevity.org/about-lung-cancer/lung-cancer-101/treatment-options/chemotherapy


As for survival statistics, leave those for later consideration.  Your dad is choosing treatment and therefore life.  Attitude, I believe is important to a successful outcome.  He and you need to believe you are going to have a successful outcome and that success yields far longer life than 6 to 8 months.


Stay the course.



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What Tom said about the tumor samples is very important. Here in the US they've approved a second line drug for squamous cell carcinoma and I'm hoping that it will be approved in Canada and the UK soon.

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