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Need help figuring out the diagnosis based on treatment plan

Dana Mackenzie

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 My dad was diagnosed with something about two weeks ago. I know it is some form of non-small cell lung cancer/ adenocarcinoma but no one will give me any more information than that. My parents don't want to talk about it and tell me when I call them I should just talk about what my kids are up to etc. and leave the details to their doctors.   I want to respect what they're saying but at the same time I'm very upset and feel in the dark.  My brother lives near them and I believe knows details but says he's too upset to talk about it. I live across the country with three little kids and based on what's going on I want to know if I should be visiting every few weeks, every few months, etc. He starts treatment today and will have targeted radiation five days a week for six weeks and chemo therapy once a week for six weeks. Based on this treatment does anybody have an idea what type of diagnosis they believe he has? 

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Glad to help but realize I am not a doctor.

Your treatment description sounds like first line standard of care lung cancer therapy.  He is having daily fractional radiation and weekly chemo (likely a weak concentration) once per week.  First line standard of care treatment is normally administered to those who can not have surgery to resect their tumor or tumors.  So, he is likely at a late stage condition - stage III or IV.  Here is information on lung cancer stages.

If he has adenocarcinoma (here is information), he has the most treatable form of late-stage lung cancer.  Some percentage of adenocarcinoma patients have tumors that display genetic markers allowing targeted therapy as attack portals directly into cancer cells.  Here is information on targeted therapy.  A very simple question is if his biopsy showed tumor markers and if so what were they (ALK, EGFR, ROS1 and etc).  Your brother or parents may not react to that specific kind of question.

You might also email your dad and link this site as a resource for him to use.  He'll have a lot of time on his hands and may want to read about us.  Many of us are late-stage diagnosed lung cancer patients and are long tenured survivors.  Read Donna G or my profile.  Go to the search bar at on the top right of the page and type Donna G or Tom Galli into the bar.  Then click on the latest comment and when one pops up, click on the name, then About Me.  It will take you to the profile and see how long Donna's survived under similar conditions to your father's disease.  Indeed, there are many and you can read the forums and quickly figure out there are many long term survivors of late stage diagnosis. The message from that exercise is if we can survive, so can your father.  Welcome here.

More questions?  Fire away!

Stay the course.


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