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Hello all.  My other half received confirmation of malignant lung cancer on Feb. 3 of this year.  So far, he has had 2 chemo treatments, which were learning "adventures" for the both of us.  We saw the radiology oncologist today, who has radiation treatments set up now.  Up to this point, no on had told us what stage he is in until I point blank asked her today.  She said Stage IV, but only because the cancer has metastasized to his shoulder, which is how this whole thing got started.  She said the tumors in just one area of his lung are very small and may be the reason cancer did not show up on Xray last May.  She did not sound positive in the least and I was hysterically crying most of the time.  I guess I'm not understanding why the Stage IV diagnosis if the tumors in the lung are small.  She did say that the one in his shoulder is very big.  He also has some spots on the back of his ribs, which explains the pain he's been experiencing there.  Oddly enough, that pain did not start until around January, but the shoulder pain started around mid-October.  His primary care had been treating him with arthritis Rx.  The tumor on his shoulder was discovered by a chiropractor.  I had googled shoulder pain and lung cancer popped up.  When that happened I had no idea that would actually turn out to be the case.  Oncologist has advised not to pay attention to stats, as the ones we are seeing today began years back and we have to go forward from now.  He also said after,we saw him after the 2nd CT prior to any treatment, that he was NOT ready to tell him to get affairs in order.  Maybe it's just me, but I took that as a sign of hope.  We both have very strong faith.


Guess I am just wondering if anyone else has had this experience.  I feel we need to get a second opinion, where radiology is concerned.  But I am so scared and nervous and I have to work full time.  He is only 58.  Both of his parents died of cancer.  I have never been this closely involved with anyone with cancer so I need all the help I can get.


Thank you and God bless you all.









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Good morning.  Staging for lung cancer is based on the size of the main tumor, whether it has spread to nearby lymph nodes, and whether it has metastasized to other organs or bones.  Based on the move to the ribs and shoulder, stage IV sounds right.  That said, please don't get too caught up in staging numbers.  There are so many late stage survivors on this site.  With respect to the statistics, your oncologist is absolutely right.  Those numbers are an aggregate of many factors and don't consider an individual patient's age, health, treatment options, etc.  We've had several new treatment options in the last few years and people are living longer with this disease.  My mindset is to treat it like a chronic illness and expect a "flare-up" (recurrence) from time to time.

Second opinions can be very helpful, and if you feel like it is warranted, trust your instinct and get one.  I haven't pursued a second opinion because I'm very happy with my current team.  If we reach a stage where my oncologist throws his hands up because he's out of ideas or options, then I'll go for another opinion.

We all know how overwhelming this is.  There is nothing about this that doesn't stink. For me, I just have to keep moving forward.  A positive mindset and my faith keep me going.  Please keep us posted. 


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Pawsitive (great screen name BTW),

Welcome here.

Susan's explanation of Stage IV disease is exactly correct as is her characterization of survival statistics.  Here is more insight into survival statistics if you care to explore the topic. 

As far as radiation goes, their is nothing to fear.  It destroys tumors and significantly reduces pain in cancer that invades bones.  Here is more information on radiation therapy.  It was very effective for me.  It dramatically shrunk my tumor before surgery and a special form of radiation called CyberKnife allowed me to achieve a "no evidence of disease" or NED state.  As the course of radiation progresses, one becomes very tired.  There are some sunburn-like skins burns and sometimes a dry cough but these are easily controlled by medication.  But, expect to provide assistance near the end of the treatment from fatigue.

You might want to tell us what type of lung cancer is diagnosed.  Here is more information on types. Moreover, you might want to tells us the names of the chemotherapy drugs involved in treatment.  Knowing that will allow us to give you some insight into side effects.

And, here is some overall insight into my view of surviving lung cancer.  Steps 3 through 10 may be relevant.

As you browse through our forum, you'll note a number of us are long term survivors from late stage diagnosed lung cancer.  The obvious conclusion from that discovery, is if we can live, so can your other half.

Stay the course.


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