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Diagnosed 3/29/24 NSCLC Stage 1A

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I cancelled 3 lobectomy procedures since they told me I had NSCLC squamous in situ Stage 1a

I am elderly and legal guardian to a 9 and 11 year old. We are a family and I had to reconsider the surgery because I must be here for them and not displace them from what they know as home.

I did some research and was informed by a cancer patient with stage 1 lung NSCLC, like me that if I was a candidate for a lobectomy, I was a candidate for the treatment he received. SBRT. I would only have to receive 5 zaps of radiation and CT scans every 3-6 months. Driving myself to and from to the cancer center to get 15 minutes of radiation treatment with little, if any side effects was what would be my preferred treatment. Tomorrow, I go in for what is called Simulation and probably beginning the week after.

My children and I can continue our lives in our little 2 bedroom apartment together, without inconvenience or burden. Yay! 

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@Papa102222, welcome to this forum. I admire what a dedicated guardian you are to your youngsters and I'm glad you have found a treatment plan you feel good about. 

Many of us start the treatment process by talking with other survivors. Then, as they progress through treatment, they find they have a little more breathing room to keep learning. Lung cancer is so complex that many of us find some knowledge helps us understand our situations and make informed decisions. I hope you'll spend some more time reading about this disease we all share. I especially recommend the Understanding Your Diagnosis section of the Lungevity site. 

Best wishes on your treatment. Keep us posted!

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Karen has already shared some good advice regarding learning all you can about the treatments, which are most recommended, and why.  I fully understand your need to be available for the young children.  In my case I had a wife sinking into early onset dementia, and my main concern was who would take care of her if I was gone or even during a recuperation period.  Like you I studied options, wedge resection, lobectomy, etc., and my decision was the lobectomy.  Mostly because in 2019 it was and still is considered the Gold Standard treatment for Stage 1a & 1b LC.  I pushed for the wedge resection but relented after a discussion with my Thoracic Surgeon.  Back then (and mostly today) SBRT was considered for those patients who couldn’t afford to lose 15-25% of their lung capacity (serious lung and/or heart disease).  In the studies done (mostly short term or 3-4 years) the survival is similar to surgery, but the amount of Stage 1 folks who get it are still small so it’s hard to make a solid comparison between the two treatment modalities.  

As long as you’ve had all the necessary conversations, considered all treatment options (advantages and disadvantages), and your personal situation, then I’m behind you 100%.  Please stick around after the surgery and let us know all you can about the process, side effects, and efficacy of the treatment.  I wish you all the best and pray for a positive outcome over the longest time possble.


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First sorry you and your family find yourself in this situation. Lung cancer is a horrible disease but treatment gets better as time goes by. And prognosis' are being extended yearly. 

You said you have squamous in situ Stage 1a. Those are two different stages of lung cancer with an intermediate stage missing.

Squamous in situ is a non invasive stage 0 ZERO Lung cancer with a 10 year survival prognosis of 100% after surgical reaction.

The intermediate stage would have been minimally invasive squamous cell carcinoma. Again this is a stage 0 lung cancer with a slightly poorer but still excellent 10 year survival statistics of 96% After surgical resection.

Stage 1 has a 10 year prognosis of around 90% again with surgical resection.

You're not going to find too much on radiation because it's considered unethical to treat operable early stage lung cancer with any means other than surgery. That does not mean a doctor will refuse.it means there will be no random studies.

I won't quote stats because they're poorer than your reality would be because most are going to involve patients that were not eligible for surgery so already had a poor prognosis.

SBRT is usually between 1 and 5 daily treatments that are very short with generally minimal side effects. But there can be severe late term side effects. IMO the higher the tumor the worse the side effects will be. And since squamous is usually higher up it's something you could consider. The treatments for some side effects are far far worse than surgery. 

Standard radiation therapy is 30 to 35 daily treatments.

If Radiation were as effective as surgery at treating early stage lung cancer there would be studies on this. As it is there are no Cancer centers willing to put this to the test.

Squamous can be an aggressive cancer with an average volumetric doubling time of 90 days. Adenocarcinoma has an average of around 290 days.

The average survival for untreated stage 1 lung cancer is just under 12 months. 

It's estimated that 25% of adult cancer patients have minor children in their care. That's about 2.85 million minors. You can always seek help. Even though resources may be limited help is out there. Start with your cancer center. Some even have Free day care for the younger ones but they know the need exists. And while you may not fit the typical young single mother profile, your needs are going to be the same if not greater. A social worker is not as bad as it sounds to us that may be a little older. They can help with nearly all aspects of dealing with cancer. The American Cancer society as of s is had a help line that can put you in touch with local resources. even getting transportation to and from appointments. 1 (800) 227-2345


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