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what type of treatment

Dear Sister

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Hello Sister,

It’s nice to hear from you. Do you know what type of lung cancer your brother has?

The initial diagnosis is like being thrown into the deep end of the pool with cement shoes, there’s so much quickly learn. In order to come up to speed there’s a very sophisticated diagnosic process that can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks. Only after this process is completed can a treatment plan be developed. Lung cancer is unique in that everyone responds differently. What is effective  for one person may not be for another. It frustrates the oncologists to no end as there’s no one fits size for all.  The key here is to learn what the spectrum of options are. The most effective approach will be tried first in accordance with the NCCN guidelines.  There is a patient version for each type of lung cancer. 

A second opinion may or may not be considered after all the tests have been completed. 

As for me, I was diagnosed a year ago with Stage IV ALK Positive NSCLC. While we were waiting for the comprehensive biomarker testing to come in I received one dose of a triple combo, Carboplatinum, Altima & Keytruda to alleviate my symptoms. After the biomarker came in as ALK Positive, I was switched to targeted therapy (pills).  So far so good.  The therapy is working well for me. 

On this Forum, there’s a wide variety of experience with many long term survivors. 

Let us know some of the details so we can jump in to help make some sense of all the new terminology. 


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What kind of treatment did I have? First line: chemo-radiation (6 infusions of Taxol and Carboplatin & 30 fractional conventional radiation sessions), then I had a pneumonectomy removing my right lung. But 3 new tumors appeared in my remaining lung. Second line: 6 infusions of Taxol and Carboplatin and that worked for a while but 2 tumors recurred. Third line: 6 infusions of Taxol and Carboplatin hardened with a new targeted therapy drug Tarceva taken daily in pill form. One tumor recurred in my lung. Fourth line: precision radiation (stereotactic) CyberKnife that fired the persistent tumor.

I was diagnosed in February 2004 and my last treatment was in March 2007 but I've been no evidence of disease since. Each one of my treatments was successful to a point. Lung cancer frequently recurs and one needs to prepare for a recurrence. 

Stay the course.


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