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dad has new hope


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Hi everyone! I just thought that I would let everyone know that my Dad's team of doctor's just gave him some hope in his battle. Anyone familiar with my past posts knows that my Dad was given some false information at the beginning of his dx, and was let down pretty hard a few weeks ago... Well now it seems that if the treatments worked, and they were successful in getting the cancer out of his lymph., they will be doing an operation to rid him of his tumor also. They originally told him he was non-operable. He's finished a full round of chemo and radiation combo., and is finally starting to feel great again. He has a pet scan scheduled for next week, and we're all pretty nervous. Does anyone have any expierence with all of this? First he was Non-operable, then they said that now he may be! Does anyone know if there is a good chance of it being gone of the lymph.? Also, I keep hearing that if they open him up to operate, there's a good chance the cancer could spread when air hits it... is there any truth to that? Any feedback would help, thanks alot everyone!

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I'm very happy for you and your dad that his tumors may be responding to the chemo/radiation. The surgical option can get rid of the 'original' tumor mass, and the radiation and chemo together should not only hit the primary tumor with a solid blow, it should also pin down all the little single cells floating around. That's the hope, at any rate.

If the chemo/radiation is effective on the primary tumor and it begins to shrink, it is much easier to get it out in one piece without ever exposing the cancer to air. That's one reason you hear about good margins, or encapsulated tumors, because the tumor is never opened up, but is cut out (around) and removed.

Air doesn't do anything to a tumor, but cutting it open and dripping live cells all over when it's being removed can seed new mets that would cause problems later .Surgeons are pretty well aware of that-- they have to be.

For now, be joyous that your dad is doing so well, and that there may be a surgical option in additiion to chemo and radiation.

I will keep your dad in my prayers.



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Air spreading cancer = MYTH .... PURE MYTH! Consider this: The tumor is in the lung. What does the lung get in it all the time? AIR! So operating is only going to expose the tumor to something that it's been exposed to since it started there in the first place!

And thorasic surgons do have procedures in place to stop the spread of the cancer cells during the operation itself.

Lots of prayer headed your way that the chemo does the trick and they can get that tumor out of there.


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Dean, is that procedure something involving Oreck? I've seen the commercials that it can pick up a brick....

Any tumor that's out may NOT spread, but one that's left inside is pre-wired TO spread... I'd opt for out, air tales be damned (and I don't believe it, either...of course, FAT CELLS respond to air in that way - LOL - I've gained girth after EVERY surgery from the first one....)

Take care,


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Great news! As other people said the cancer won't spread due to contact with the air. It is definitely better to be able to have the surgery than not.

A 2003 article in said

Resected versus non-resected patients showed a significant difference: 38% versus 5.6% (p = 0.028, log rank). CONCLUSIONS: This trimodal approach for stage IIIb NSCLC appears safe and effective. It provides good therapeutic results with acceptable morbidity in surgical cases.

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I just want to reiterate - air spreading the cancer is definitely a myth!! There has been much published proving this if you do a google search. The myth originated many years ago because of unsophisticated screening techniques. A traditional xray would only show so much, so when a dr. went in to operate on what looked like a single tumor on the old type xrays, they would find out it wasn't just a single tumor and close the patient back up. So, the rumor that opening a person up for surgery will cause the tumor to spread came from that.

I hope your father responds nicely to his treatment and can be operated on. Take care.

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1. From what I heard it is typical to "overstage", they always go highest and if you can get surgery, then it is excellent news :) They did that with my mom, it was who knows if you are III or IV. Then when it was III, it was who knows if IIIA or B. Once they said IIIA, surgery still is not a guarantee for everyone and it just depends on how chemo goes.

It is EXCELLENT news that your dad is responding well to chemo! Cancer went bye bye from one of my mom's lymphs from chemo also that was originally on PET Scan at diagnosis. Like your dad, she had a PET scan prior to final surgery decision. They need to make sure there are no other hot spots. Your news sounds positive :)

2. Air--funny story. Where did that myth start?. At the hair salon 3 months ago........my mom was with me and I was reluctant to let her go to Macy's herself while I was finishing up (it is in the mall). Finally I let her go and the assistant taking my highlights out said "why? does she spend too much money?". I said "no, she has cancer". He said "I tell all my people not to get operated on, I heard the air spreads it.". I told him it was a myth and my colorist about wanted to die of embarassment. I was like no big deal b/c I go there all the time and know that he meant no harm, but my colorist had to talk to him and have him apologize to me :) Then he said he hoped he did not discourage me. I politely asked how he could discourage me, what medical training does he have. Then I simply said keep all medical opinions to yourself b/c if that was my first time in there, i would not be a return customer ;)

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I had posted this article a while back, but this post prompted me to dig around for it.....

Beliefs of lung cancer patients may compromise treatment

Megan Rauscher

Reuters Health

Posting Date: October 6, 2003

Last Updated: 2003-10-06 17:00:11 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Many patients wrongly believe that exposure of lung cancer to air during surgery causes the tumor to spread, results of a survey indicate.

This belief is particularly common among African Americans and may help explain why they undergo surgery for early lung cancer less often than do white patients.

Although surgery is the treatment of choice for most early-stage lung tumors, widespread acceptance of this erroneous belief could undermine the best chance for cure, Dr. Mitchell L. Margolis, of the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and colleagues note.

Dr. Margolis' team observed that patients evaluated for lung tumors frequently raised concern that their lung cancer would spread when exposed to air during surgery.

This motivated his team to survey 626 consecutive patients being evaluated at their clinic, another VA clinic in Los Angeles, and patients seen at the University of Pennsylvania and the Medical University of South Carolina. Some subjects had lung cancer and others had risk factors for the disease. In this prospective study, 67% of those surveyed were white and 27% were African American.

They report in the October 7th issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine that 38% of those questioned did in fact believe that exposing a lung tumor to air during surgery would make it spread. Considerably more African American than white patients felt this was true, 61% versus 29%, respectively.

Nineteen percent of African Americans and 5% of whites were opposed to lung cancer surgery based on their belief. In addition, 14% of African Americans and 5% of whites indicated on the survey that they would not believe their physician if told the belief was false.

The idea that lung cancer surgery causes tumors to spread is "very prevalent," Dr. Margolis told Reuters Health, especially among African Americans, and it may lead them to reject lung cancer surgery even if their physician recommends it.

He emphasized that "there is no scientific basis to support this belief and it is not a valid reason for not proceeding with needed surgery for lung cancer."

Where did this belief come from? Respondents were "vague" on this point, Dr. Margolis said. "Some said they heard it from a friend or through the gossip mill. Others cited cultural beliefs."

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I feel so refreshed every time i come to this site... I try so hard to look at new posts, and respond to as many as i can, although i feel stupid half the time becuase you guys are so well edjucated on this cancer stuff, and I dont really have any answers only questions, which makes me feel selfish, because I feel like im taking more from this site than giving. I only hope that in the future i can help someone as much as you guys have helped me...

Elaine, Connie B. Dean Carl, mhutch1366, and everyone else who have helped me through so much. You guys are my light at the end of the tunnel, Ive had so many PM's that I feel like Im taking up too much of your time with my silly questions. I know that some of you guys will have to look up my past posts to see who I am, but something you've said touched me in a powerful way, and I thank you for it...

My dad had his pet scan yesterday, and we are so anxious for the results. I sat with my dad for a while today and talked about his whole situation, and he confidied in me that he was'ne really confident in the pat scan results coming out. He said that he dosen't feel that there is a good chance of his cancer being out of his lymph. I dont know if its just a feeling but he had said that he dosent want any more radiation just chemo cause it dosent hit him as hard, but were still hoping for the best... I am anyway.

Thanks again for all your posts, replies, and PM's... you guys are the best


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I can't add anything to all the good advice that has been given you so far. However, I just wanted to say that you should never feel bad about asking questions. At some time, all of us were new to this cancer thing, and we only learn through being there and asking questions and being there of each other and empathizing with their issues as well.

Trust me, before long there will be someone on this site who will be thanking you for all the support and comfort you have brought them. Your presence alone is a comfort to so many and knowing that you care and pray for us is a tremendous value.

After each scan my husband tells me he is sure that the results will be negative. I sometimes think that he convinces himself it is the worst because he can't bear the disappointment that can occur from optimism. In the first few months he was so positive, but when the results were not what he wanted he slipped into a deep deep depression. Now I think he doesn't want to build up his hope and expectation so that he can't be let down, and if it is good, well then he is pleasantly surprised. It is emotional armor.

I am sending out positive vibes and lots of prayers of good test results.


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