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Distinguishing of cancer vs treatment symptoms


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Hi friends,

I am not sure if there is an answer to this but is there any way to distinguish whether A,B,C symptoms are caused by cancer or by the treatment (chemo) when both could cause them?

For example extreme tiredness is still there. The doctor says it's from the cancer and not a result of the chemo drugs. I read however that chemo can also cause that. So which is it. I assume both, but if the doctor is right, then since the symptoms are still there after X rounds of chemo that means it's not getting any better but worse.

Am I getting this wrong?

I've also read that the chemo symptoms get worse by the round. Could that meat that even if one feels like sh*t, it may be actually working?

As you understand we're looking for some indication/sign of which direction we're heading at.. (while awaiting for the CT scan in a month)

thank you for your replies!!

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Personally, I don't know of any way to distinguish symptoms like tiredness due to disease vs. tiredness due to chemo, assuming both can cause it. I always think tiredness, which is such a common side effect of many chemo drugs, is most likely to be due to the drugs.

How you feel while on chemo doesn't tell you anything about whether it's working. So yes, you can feel like crap and it's still working.

Unless there is some new symptom unlikely to be caused by chemo (e.g., pain from bone mets), it's pretty hard to tell how things are going until you have the next scan. 

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Wow, talk about tough questions!

You are right of course. Lung cancer can cause fatigue as can chemotherapy. But, I've read the affects of certain formulations of chemotherapy are cumulative. And, in fact in my third and fourth line treatments with Taxol and Carboplatin, fatigue did increase during the 18-week treatment and this symptom did hang on for a while after chemo treatment ended. I can't recall how long. While my fatigue did increase over time, the other side effects did not. Nausea and joint pain (my two additional side effects) started and stopped with regularity and did not worsen as infusions progressed. I've not read that fatigue is an indication that chemotherapy is working.

I wish I had an answer. Waiting for CT scans is a pain! I do know about Scanziety! I do hope your scan shows NED (no evidence of disease).

Stay the course.


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