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Starting treatment next week for NSCLC


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New to the group.  I have stage 3A non small cell.  I have no symptoms and it was found during a cat scan of my carotid arteries.  Since then I have had a PET scan, pulmonary function test, endoscopic biopsy, and a brain MRI.  There are 3 lymph nodes that are positive, all in the lung.  The tumor is a 2.1 cm nodule in the bottom lobe of the left lung.  I will begin 28 sessions of radiation, Monday-Friday and 4 rounds of chemo beginning next Thursday at 21 day intervals. Hopefully if this is successful the plan is to do another cat scan, and biopsy and then surgery.  I am going into this feeling positive as I feel lucky this was found when it was.  Any advise or suggestions from those more experienced is welcome.

Sorry I neglected to say it is Adenocarcinoma.  The two chemo drugs are Carboplatin and Alimta.  My only warning from radiation is to expect pain and discomfort to the esophagus due to the location of two of the lymph nodes.

Edited by Iggy
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Hi, Iggy, and welcome! Sorry you have to join this club but you are in the right place. Sounds like you've got a good treatment plan in place. 

I don't have any experience with chemo or radiation (yet--my biopsy is scheduled for Monday), but I had a lobectomy three years ago for adenocarcinoma Ib. What type of NSCLC do you have? What specific chemo drugs will you be getting?

There will be others along shortly who can give you more info on their experiences with chemo/radiation.

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Hi Iggy.  Welcome.  I had Stage 3B NSC lung cancer.  I started with 2 chemos and daily radiation..  

then I was able to have a lobe of lung removed.  The plan was for more chemo after also.  

I was diagnosed in December 1997.  I am still here welcoming you.  Keep us posted on how you are 

doing and feel free to ask questions.  

Donna G

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Iggy,

Welcome.

You didn't mention the type of non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Your endoscopic biopsy report should identify the type. There are three common types: squamous cell, adenocarcinoma and large cell. Here is more information about lung cancer types.

I was diagnosed stage IIIB and like you had pre-surgical chemo-radiation. Mine was 30 daily radiation treatments (M-F) and a weekly infusion over the course of 6 weeks. This treatment shrunk my tumor to allow the surgeon to safely operate. Then my right lung was surgically removed. I had a very large tumor in the main stem bronchus and the size and location were the reason the entire lung needed removal. Your surgery could be what is called a lobectomy and it is far less invasive than the pneumonectomy that I had. Here is more information on thoracic lung surgery.

The radiation is the key player in your first treatment. It will be focused on your tumor. The chemo will likely be a reduced strength and its purpose is to sweep the blood and lymphatic system of cancer cells that may be present. In my treatment experience, radiation was a piece of cake until the third week. Then it made me very tired and my skin turned red, like a bad sunburn. My doctor gave me a prescription cream for my skin. I didn't have any side effects from the first treatment chemo; I didn't even lose my hair (drugs were Taxol and Carboplatin).  

As for advice, I normally share this with new folks. Questions? This is the place to come.

Stay the course.

Tom

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Hi, Iggy: Welcome among us. I was diagnosed with stage 3B and just took my second cycle of chemo plus immunotherapy. Please mention what type of chemo you will be receiving so we know how to answer questions about side effects if any. Also it seems that your medical team has a good plan for you so hopefully it will work to your satisfaction. Please keep a positive attitude and stay strong. We will be here to  Cheer you on..

Best of luck.

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Hi Iggy,

 In March  of 2019 I had surgery with no chemo or radiation - it was adenocarcinoma of the upper left lobe staged at 1b.  I was diagnosed with Stage IV in April, 2020.  I have had 4 treatments of chemo and immunotherapy- Alimta, Carbo and Keytruda.  Keep in mind that some people do not experience side effects...we're all different.  For me, day 4, 5 and 6 I experience extreme fatigue and nausea and then gradually I come out of it. I also became anemic which doesn't help with fatigue.  This next time will be different.  On Tuesday I will have a CT scan - they are planning to drop the carbo (that is if everything looks good).  I've been told that my maintenance treatment will be with Keytruda and Alimta.  I haven't been told how long maintenance treatment will last.  I guess they'll determine that once they see the CT scan.  I also want to mention that after 2 treatments of carbo, alimta and Keytruda my tumor decreased in size by 25%.  I am feeling optimistic about my scan on Tuesday.  I've been told that it's a very small amount of cancer, but it was in 2 lymph nodes, and the pleura so it was staged at IV.  I have not had radiation....in the beginning they said they weren't taking that off the table - but I will ask about that on Tuesday. 

I wish you all the best and hoping your side effects will be minimal.

Deb

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Iggy, Welcome. I also have adenocarcinoma. Stage iv. I had 10 days of radiation while waiting for genetic testing. On day 9 , I started with the pain when swallowing. I could drink without issue. Breakfast was usually a smoothie. I took liquid Mylanta before I ate. I also started taking 2 Tylenol about an hour before meals and kept to softer foods - eggs, tuna salad, yogurt, apple sauce, avocado, cottage cheese. It improved about 10 days after treatment finished. 

Best of luck.

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  • 2 months later...

Hi Iggy

I am a newbie now to the club too. No signs, other than a cough I got and could not kick in September, I went to dr thinking severe allergies since I was now wheezing. Prior to all this I was literally playing tennis 4 x a week and running 3 miles 3-4 times a week.

I was formally diagnosed Stage 4 Adenocarcinoma tumor in right lung, spread to lymph nodes, spine and brain. 

Chemo has started, we have those 2 in common. I will also under go radiation soon before Thanksgiving for spine and brain. 

I am staying positive and glad to find this group.

 

Lil 

in Texas 

 

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Hi and welcome Lil.  I know it is very difficult to process all the information when you first hear the news.  Please remember there is hope out there and lots of new drugs and trials going on all the time.  For me I completed my radiation and chemo, had a CT scan and a second endoscopic biopsy and unfortunately because  the lymph node in front of the esophagus is still positive, surgery was removed from the option list.  I went back and had 3 more weeks of radiation and now on a well needed month break before beginning immunotherapy with Imfinzi for 12 months every 2 weeks.  Find an oncologist that you like and trust and can talk to, ask all the questions you need to, make sure you are comfortable and understand why they are doing what they are. This is a long and tiring journey, stay positive and always fight.

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  • 5 weeks later...
On 8/7/2020 at 4:26 PM, Iggy said:

New to the group.  I have stage 3A non small cell.  I have no symptoms and it was found during a cat scan of my carotid arteries.  Since then I have had a PET scan, pulmonary function test, endoscopic biopsy, and a brain MRI.  There are 3 lymph nodes that are positive, all in the lung.  The tumor is a 2.1 cm nodule in the bottom lobe of the left lung.  I will begin 28 sessions of radiation, Monday-Friday and 4 rounds of chemo beginning next Thursday at 21 day intervals. Hopefully if this is successful the plan is to do another cat scan, and biopsy and then surgery.  I am going into this feeling positive as I feel lucky this was found when it was.  Any advise or suggestions from those more experienced is welcome.

Sorry I neglected to say it is Adenocarcinoma.  The two chemo drugs are Carboplatin and Alimta.  My only warning from radiation is to expect pain and discomfort to the esophagus due to the location of two of the lymph nodes.

Iggy:

 

I have IIIa adenocarcinoma as well. I had a right lower lobectomy and an upper lobe resection. One lymph node removed was shown to he cancerous and a subsequent PET scan showed one other node lighting up. 
 

after 20 radiation and 4 chemo ( also Alimta and Carboplatin) a PET scan showed No evidence of disease. 
 

I has esophagitis as well, with lidocaine and caraphate (sp) helping greatly. When needed I took a small dose of Dilaudid. I’d advise you to sleep with your head elevated a bit. 
 

all the very best to you in treatments!

 

pat

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