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Stage IV NSCLC Mom is 58


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We found out 3 weeks ago that my mom has cancer. We have gone through a lung biopsy, CT scan and PET scan. The CT scan shows that the mass to be 3-4cm and the PET scan shows that the cancer has spread to the adrenal gland and lymph nodes. The oncologist has scheduled a biopsy of the adrenal gland. If it is begnin then we will prodcede with chemo and radiation, if it is active cancer then chemo will be our only option. Do you think this biopsy is really necessary? My mom is still working her full time job in retail and is not complaining of any symptoms. The biopsy is a week away, are we wasting treatment time? Oh, and my mom is still smoking and I don't think she plans to quit. Anyone care to admit to still smoking while undergoing chemo?

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Conway, See the post about smoking. I think it's in General.

I'm not a doctor, but as a patient I would certainly want to know what was going on in MY adrenal. Also, it is very important for the onclogist to get a correct staging so that the proper treatment can be given.

As far as time: What kind of cancer does she have; small cell or non-small cell? makes a difference. Small cell can advance rather rapidly; the others—slower. I doubt a week would make any difference in either case.

I think the most encouraging thing in your post is that your mom is feeling good. My doctors were all telling me that, basically I was toast, when I kept saying HEY! LISTEN TO ME!!! I FEEL GREAT! Don't let those doctors get you down!

Remember: The power of positive thinking can change your world! JudyB

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Guest DaveG


I am 59 years old and will be 60 in October. I am a Stage IV NSCLC and was Stage I until April 18 when I was restaged do to mets to my lymphatic system.

I, too, was in retail, as a store manager for a major electronics company. I retired about 5 months after my initial diagnosis and 1st surgery in the fall 2001. I found the stress of my employment, plus the stress of dealing with cancer, and realizing that my life had been turned upside down with the diagnosis of lung cancer, was more than I cared to deal with.

As far as smoking goes, relay this message to your mother: NO ONE DESERVES LUNG CANCER

I quit smoking in 1997, almost 4-1/2 years before my diagnosis. I, like your mother grew up in the 50's and graduated from high school in 1961 (I would guess that your mother graduated in 1962 or 63). We grew up in an era when smoking was both socially accepted and socially encouraged. Both of us probably indulged with some "recreatiuonal smoking" during the 60's and 70's.

The question of continuing to smoke during treatment for lung cancer is a widely discussed issue, with pro's and con's, depending on which side of the fence you are on. I will tell you this, for your mother to quit smoking will definitely increase her chances for survival and for getting the cancer under control. All of us here will admit, there is no cure for lung cancer. Does that mean every person with lung cancer will die? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(1) Your mother must quit smoking, NOW!!!!!!

(2) Your mother's habit did not cause the lung cancer, so she should accept that, stop blaming herself, and quit denying she has the major cancer killer in the US today.

(3) Introduce your mother to this board. She will then realize that she is not alone and has many friends here.

If, in fact it was true, that smoking causes lung cancer, and is the only cause of lung cancer, we would have 44 million people in the US with lung cancer, as that is the approximate number of avtive smokers. Smoking, yes, is the number one risk (please note the word RISK, NOT CAUSE, BUT RISK) factor for lung cancer.

Here are some other facts about lung cancer:

It is the only equal opportunity cancer.

It crosses all socio-economic barriers.

It does not care whether you are a smoker or non-smoker.

It does not care whether you are a 58 year old woman, or a 18 year old waiting for high school graduation in a few weeks.

It does not care whether you are a man or a woman.

It is the number one cancer killer for women, outnumbering the deaths do to breast cancer by 2-1. (38,000 women died of breast cancer in 2002)

And the list can go on and on, but that is not our intention here. Our intention is to offer HOPE, SUPPORT, SURVIVORSHIP, AND A WHOLE LOTTA LOVIN'

Please encourage your mother to quit smoking. Women who smoke during their treatment for lung cancer, are more likely to fail in their treatment process, then those who quit smoking. The one thing to remember, that being a woman with lung cancer, she has a greater risk of failure of her treatment, but we have women members who are long term survivors, several more than 7 or 8 years and at least one who has survived 10 or more years.

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