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First, I apologize for my English, but it is not my mother tongue.
t's a relief for me to have found this site. Three weeks ago I knew that lung cancer came back on my mother. It's been terrible trying to show me strong and secure, confident and full of hope all the time when I only have doubts and fears.
3 years ago she was diagnosed with lung cancer in early stage. She was operated and lived well and believing that the worst was over since then. 
In January (2016), she began to feel terrible pain column. My parents did not worry more than necessary because she always had back problems. She went to a doctor that, after many exams and because of her medical history, decided to do a bone scintigraphy. Although all medical evidence that there was no trace of cancer along those three years, cancer lung had returned and sprawled to the column. The new diagnosis is lung and bone metastasis. 
I do not know what stage it is because my parents are reluctant to give details to me and my sister. I do not know if I must respect their wishes and only offer my help whenever they need, respecting their will, or contact the doctor be prepared and be more helpfull whatever comes.
After 10 radio sessions and 2 of chemotherapy, her doctor made a gene mutation test and decided to combine Tarceva 150 mg with Zometa (one session a month).
Thanks in advance for any light or experience that can help me to face this situation and thus be able to help my mother and father to cross through it all with courage, strength and faith.



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No need to apologize.  Lung cancer is a universal language

From your description, I conclude that your mother had surgery to remove a tumor in 2013.  In 2016, she complained of spinal column pain.  Now after testing, she is diagnosed with lung cancer spread to her spinal column.  She's had 10 radiation treatments to her spinal column and 2 rounds of chemotherapy along with a genetic mutation test. The results of the test likely indicate your mother has a form of non small lung cancer called adenocarcinoma and her genetic testing revealed her tumor had an EGFR mutation.  I conclude that because Tarceva is a drug used to target epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR) found in adenocarcinoma non small cell lung cancer.  She is also receiving Zometa that is effective against cancer in the bones.  

First questions for you.  Did the radiation sessions stop the pain in her spinal column?  Does your mother have additional tumors in her lungs?

If she has adenocarcinoma with the EGFR mutation, I know that Tarceva can be a very effective medication to controlling her cancer.  Zometa improves bone strength and plays an important support role in her treatment, but Tarceva is the killing agent. 

What is likely to happen in the future?  Your mother will receive another scan in a couple of months to determine if the Tarceva is working.  If it is not, then there are other medications that work against EGFR mutations.  This link has further details: https://www.lungevity.org/about-lung-cancer/lung-cancer-101/treatment-options/targeted-therapy

I've known people to live very long lives taking Tarceva to fight their lung cancer.  One woman, a friend, lived 10 years taking Tarceva, and passed away from a heart attack.  So, this medicine may work.

You mentioned the important things for your mom and dad: courage, strength and faith.

Don't hesitate to ask any further questions you might have.

Stay the course.



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Dear Tom

Thanks for answering. Your description of EFGR mutation of my mum's cancer is right. After the radiation sessions the pain stopped. I hope she have not additional tumors for now. I don't have more information, as I mentioned. My parents are trying to protect us and we only want to protect them. 

We still have to wait two months until she receive a new scan? Waiting is very hard. As much as not knowing how to help. 

She never smoked (neither me, my sister or my father, our friends and family), she never attended smokers environments and suddenly BAM! 

Tell me Tom, how can I help her? What can I say? I feel so alone and lost. And at such times I feel too selfish because I imagine how much she is suffering silently to avoid our suffering.

At the end of this month, we will visit her oncologist. I keep you informed.

Thanks a lot! 


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I understand your parent's reluctance.  They are trying to protect you.

How can you help your mother? Two ways.  First, I would be her cancer encyclopedia.  I'd research all available information about her form of lung cancer to be able to answer questions or assist in medical consultations if she asks for help.  She may ask for your help in the future.  Here is a good place to get started in your research - https://www.lungevity.org/about-lung-cancer/lung-cancer-101/types-of-lung-cancer/lung-adenocarcinoma

If you have questions about your research, ask them here.  Someone at LUNGevity will be able to get you an answer.

Second, I would continue to be there ready to assist or help.  I can't know your mother's mind, but lung cancer was a very frightening experience for me.  I didn't want to talk about it. But, my wife's continual presence and her interaction with my doctors was beneficial to my treatment.  She asked the questions I was too afraid to ask.  I wouldn't feel selfish. Parents naturally want to protect their children no matter how old they get.  I can remember my mother bundling me up with blankets after an infusion because she didn't want me to catch a cold.  My mother and wife were there and I knew they were there and their presence was beneficial.

Let us know how your consultation goes at the end of August.

Stay the course.


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