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Candra72

New - Looking information for my mother.

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Hey everyone.

I'm Monica,

About 5 months ago My 68 years old mother was recently diagnosed with Adenocarcinoma, the tumor was 3.4cm x 2.1 cm, no metastases.

She was given Tarseva and the new XRay showed the tumor was a lot smaller after taking Tarseva for 5 months, CT will be done in another 7 months so we don't know that for sure.

However the side effect of Tarseva is so bad, she already lost some of hair,  her skin is so dry and wrinkly, recently she was also diagnosed with cataract, and she keeps having blisters on her foot to the point that she can not wear any sandals or shoes comfortably. What I found strange is, The Dr suggested to wait for a few months to have the cataract remove since the surgery could worsen the cancer??

Has anybody experience the same thing? At this point we were even considering holistic approach but there's still a lot of research we need to do. I just don't know what to do, the more I read the more confuse I am, it's hard and heart breaking to watch your own mother has to go through all that. Please share if any of you or your family has taken the holistic approach or dealt with Tarseva and it's side affect.

 

I really appreciate it and Thank God I found this forum, at least I am not alone  :(

 

Best Regards

Monica

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Hi, Monica, and welcome.  I tend to think the issue is not that the cataract surgery would make the cancer worse, but rather that the surgery and accompanying medication would complicate her treatment for the cancer.  The medications might interfere with each other, there might be a risk of infection, etc.  Is there any possibility that surgery or radiation would be an option for your mom now that the tumor is smaller?  I'd be asking those questions of the oncologist and possibly getting another opinion.

Holistic treatment involves addressing all aspects of health.  Lung cancer cannot be treated by herbal or other "alternative" therapies.  The arsenal pretty much consists of surgery, chemo, other drug therapies, and radiation.  

I hope your mom is able to get some relief from her discomfort.  Glad you found us.

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I have NSCLC adenocarcinoma with matastases, I was diagnosed in Jan. 2017.  In September 2017 I had cataract surgery on my right eye and in November on my left eye.  All went well.  I did not have the same chemo as your mother.  I was also 68 at the time.  I would suggest that your mother has time ahead for dealing with cataract.  I think that I wanted the cataract surgery as I felt I had some control in that decision.  I also did not want to go back onto a long waiting list.  I definitely discussed cancer treatment with opthamologist and cataract surgery with onco.  I wish you and your mother all the best.

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Candra,

I was on Tarceva for about 5 months and the side effects were indeed troubling.  I took the drug shortly after FDA approval and at the time, doctors knew it worked dramatically for only a small percentage of those with NSCLC.  Unfortunately, they didn't yet realize that it only work for adenocarcinoma, not Squamous cell NSCLC.  I have Squamous cell.  So I endured side effects and a perception cost of $3,000 per month with zero treatment return.

I had two very troubling side effects: head and neck acne, very bad zombie-like acne, and extremely discomforting diarrhea.  My chemo nurse told me during my first Taxol and Carboplatin infusion to see my dentist about once per month and my ophthalmologist after treatment was over.  I did both and I didn't have a cataract problem.  I agree with Lexi that alternative therapies have not been successful in arresting lung cancer, so I'd be wary.

Stay the course.

Tom  

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Lexie, Sharon and Tom, Thank you guys so much for taking the time to reply to my post, I do appreciate it.

I will be sure to ask all of those questions and also looking for second opinion. How are you guys doing after the treatment? Is there anybody who is cancer free after treatment especially with targeted pills? Sorry for asking too much, these are all very new to me so I may act like one of those blindfolded maniac running around hitting all walls :(

Tom: Yes all of those side effects are horrible, yet from what I understand Tarseva will never cure the cancer so she could stick with it for years.

 

Thank you so much for all the well wishes.

Monica

 

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Monica,

I am cancer free or NED (no evidence of disease) after treatment. We don't use cure in our community; I've had four recurrences after NED treatments.  In fact, come February, Good Lord willing, I'll celebrate 15 years of surviving lung cancer.  I had 2 biopsies, 4 surgeries, 6 stent insertion and removal procedures, 18 infusions of Taxol and Carboplatin, Tarceva, conventional radiation and precision radiation.  I knew one lady, a fellow survivor, who took Tarceva for 10 years, but she passed away from a heart attack.  The drug controlled her cancer and she led a near normal life.

So, if your mom is on Tarceva then doctors know it works against her form of adenocarcinoma and she could take it for years living a near normal life.  That prognosis compared to the alternative is something to celebrate.

Stay the course.

Tom

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Monica,

A suggestion for your mom's dry skin is Aveeno products with oatmeal. We've converted my mom over to Aveeno bodywash and skin cream. She also only uses a soft sponge instead of a wash cloth or loofah. My mom has very dry, itchy skin from immunotherapy and Aveeno has helped.

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Hi Monica and welcome.  If I were your mom, I'd consider a second opinion. Also, I have a little different take on  holistic or alternative treatment than do Tom and LexieCat. I do agree that lung cancer can only be cured or arrested by conventional medical treatments. I do think that some non-conventional things can help with our general health,vitalilty, and quality of life  as well as with some side effects of cancer treatment. I've had 3 unrelated primary cancers and during and after my treatment for each, I had regularly scheduled accupuncture (usually twice a week), some shiatsu massage, and some supplemnts as  recommended by a naturopathic doctor. Also some dietary recommendations.Did these things help? The acupuncture helped with nausea and also with stress.  Don't know whether the rest of it helped, but I don't think it hurt me any.  I'm NED on all 3 cancers. BTW, I also had Reiki and laying on of hands, and a lot of prayer , meditation and candle-lighting of various religious persuasions.

I prefer to call  all of this "complementary" rather than "alternative", since I'm doing it along with convetional treatment and not as any kind of replacement. I would like to offer some of my personal thoughts on this kind of stuff.

1. As I said, I think it should never be considered to be a replacement for conventional treatment.

2. Find somebody who knows what they're doing to advise you. It should not be somebody who opposes conventional medicine. In Oregon we are fortunate to have licensed Naturopathic Doctors and many of them are very familiar with and comfortable with conventioal oncology. I learned a lot about cancer from my naturopath.

3. If you are taking any supplements, herbs or such, check with your surgeon before surgery and your medical oncologist or oncology pharmacist before chemo, since some things can interfere.

4. Don't spend a whole lot of money on this stuff. Cancer is expensive enough without going broke on complementaary stuff.I was fortunate to have available a "traditional" medical clinic with a subsidized program for people with cancer.

5. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Best wishes to you and  your mom

BridgetO

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Yeah, I agree with Bridget--I wasn't trying to denigrate holistic treatment, or even some less conventional treatments, as long as they are OK'd by a doctor.  Some herbs, etc., actually interact in a bad way with cancer medications or radiation.  But they should never be used instead of conventional treatment.  Steve Jobs had an unusually curable form of pancreatic cancer--if he had undergone conventional treatment there's a good chance he'd still be around.  But he insisted on pursuing "alternative" treatments instead, and by the time he realized they weren't working it was too late.

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Bridget, thank you for that!

You are exactly correct while I was looking for all of the alternative where mom lives, we found out that they are all opposed conventional medicine which got me worried several of them even asked mom to stop all prescribed med before seeing them, she never did. I agree with you and Lexie that the holistic approach should be used as complementary with the ok'd by the Onco and we will use that approach.

Thank you and well wishes.

 

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