Peggy H Posted May 3, 2003 Share Posted May 3, 2003 My younger sister received bad news this week. She's been on chemo for the past six months. She recently started having balance problems - her cancer has spread to her brain, again. Supposedly, the new growths are too large for Gamma Knife but I'm taking her to consult with the Neurosurgeon who did her first Gamma Knife 1 1/2 years ago, anyway. The radiation oncologist tells us that she is near her lifetime limit for full brain radiation, she can do up to 12 focused treatments, that's all. Her cancer has spread to liver, bones, she has malignant pleural effusion, malignant ascites & is now continuing to progress even while on chemo. Her oncologist told us he's used all the approved chemo drugs for NSCLC, experimental drugs are probably all that are available now, but, no one is going to take someone with active brain cancer into a clinical trial (quote). Plus, does she "want to spend time traveling back & forth (to Chicago or Madison or Mayo) for treatment when she doesn't have much time left?" Both the oncologist and radiologist are giving her "weeks" to live. (Note: up until the hour of this appointment she was still driving, teaching every day, taking care of her home & kids.) Here are my questions: for chemo she's had taxol, carboplatin, taxotere, gemzar, and navelbine. Zometa for the bone mets. Her oncologist says cisplatin is the same as carboplatin, which she's had twice & it is no longer working. He says there are "older" drugs but they don't work well & have terrible side effects. Anyone have experience with other chemo drugs for NSCLC? Secondly: any warning signs or symptoms I should be looking for that indicate the brain mets are getting worse or that her liver might be failing? (Other than pain which, thank God, she doesn't have.) Just to be fair - we've been pretty satisfied with her medical treatment - both her oncologist & radioloist have spent hours & hours with us, always listen, always address concerns, always try to treat symptoms & side effects, always available when she needs them . . . but, she's not getting better. We may just both be in denial. I've spend hours every day of the past two years searching the internet for something, anything. I just don't know what I would do with all this horror if I didn't have this board to go to. I wish I could have talked her into joining it, I just know that she's terrified, and no matter how many of us are around her, she feels alone. Cancer sucks. If you have those hats made, Dave, I'll buy a gross. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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