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Lung cancer with metastasis to brain and spinal cord (Stage IV)

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Hi Apoorvamaniktala,

I am sorry to hear about your father's diagnosis. My beloved uncle was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer with brain metastasis in 2011. While nothing can prepare a man and his family for a lung cancer diagnosis, he faced his with determination, hope, and strong support from family and friends.

Early on, my uncle underwent several rounds of radiation and had a few procedures, including stereotactic radiosurgery, to remove the tumors and lesions in his brain. They were able to successfully remove all 8 tumors. They discovered that he has the ALK mutation, and he went on Xalkori (a targeted therapy drug) for over three years with very positive results. He recently switched to Alcensa, a stronger drug, more as a precautionary measure than an absolutely necessary one. This September, we will celebrate five years of survivorship. In the past five years, he has seen his youngest son graduate from high school and college and his oldest son get married and have two beautiful children. His only daughter is welcoming her first child in just a few weeks.

It is very difficult to watch someone you love fight cancer. While we wish we could take his pain and undergo treatment in his place, we know that he has to do that on his own. But my family has rallied around him and given him the love and support he needs during difficult times. He is grateful for opportunities to connect with other survivors and I am grateful to connect with other people whose lives have been affected by cancer. Though no one's stories are exactly the same, it is inspiring to talk to people who are on a similar journey facing similar obstacles. I hope that you find invaluable support and make many meaningful connections through LCSC.

Please keep us posted on your father's progress. We are here for you!



Digital Community Manager
LUNGevity Foundation

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Welcome here Apoorvamaniktala,

It saddens me to hear of your father's diagnosis.

It may be helpful to tell us the type of lung cancer your father has. There are two basic types: small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer.  Non-small cell cancer has subtypes associated with it.  The reason this is important is this site is for all lung cancer survivors but the treatment and treatment availability varies for types and subtypes.  So folks here will be better able to assist you in understanding your father's treatments if we know the type.  Here is some information to assist you in understanding lung cancer types: https://www.lungevity.org/about-lung-cancer/lung-cancer-101/types-of-lung-cancer

What kind of radiation treatment is your father having?  There is standard external beam radiation therapy, and 3 newer methods of image guided radiation.  I've had two of the methods - standard external beam radiation and stereotactic radiation. Here is a good resource to help you understand the types of radiation therapy: https://www.lungevity.org/about-lung-cancer/lung-cancer-101/treatment-options/radiation-therapy

My standard external beam radiation was performed over a period of 30 days.  Each session took about 15 minutes from the time I entered the clinic till the treatment was complete.  For the first 10 or so days, I experienced no discomfort.  Then the skin on my chest became red, like a bad sunburn, and I developed a dry cough.  My doctor gave me medication to assist with these problems.  By about the 15th day, I started to feel very tired after each treatment.  I felt like treatments were reducing my energy levels.  During my last 5 treatments, I spent much of my time in bed because I was very tired.  I quickly recovered my energy level and returned to normal after treatment was over.

My stereotactic radiation was only 3 days long but each treatment was about a half hour long.  I experience no side effects from this radiation at all.

I hope your father's treatments are progressing well.  Feel free to ask any further questions.

Stay the course.


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