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Radiation results and info about bone mets


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We had a follow-up visit today with my favorite doctor about my husband's shoulder - his radiation oncologist. Every single time we leave this doctor's office we are encouraged, cheered up, and leave with big smiles.

This was a simple follow up to see how his shoulder is since the radiation. I didn't even really need to go for this visit because I knew his shoulder was doing great, but I would NEVER pass up the opportunity to visit this optimistic, hope-filled man's presence. We always laugh and he talks to us about other things, too. When he came in, he cheerfully said "Well, there's my friend" and shook my husband's hand. I said, "Am I your friend, too?" He said, "No, only him. We men have to stick together." He then talked to us for about 10 min. about Lance Armstrong, his own bike riding, and my husband's motorcylce riding. He actually went to France and saw Lance Armstrong win the race. This guy just oozes energy.

My hubby's shoulder is doing great. There is still a small hole in the bone, and he said that might not completely heal for 4-6 months, but there is no pain, no restriction of movement, and it just looks great. He also always gives him a thorough physical examination - checks his lungs, eyes, glands, heart, belly, his grip, strength, his legs and ankles, and just gives him a good checkup. He also asks him tons of questions. Everything he checked is perfect. The doctor said he just couldn't be more pleased - "Especially, under the cirumstances". He is the picture of perfect health. I'm doing a BIG happy dance!!!

We did ask him some questions, that I thought some might find interesting and helpful. Well, actually, I asked all of them, but my husband asked the last one.

1. Since the PET scan shows he has cancer also in his upper and lower spine, with the greatest intensity in the lower spine, why do have to wait and see (or until) he gets pain there before doing radiation in those areas, also his right hip, which also shows it to be quite intense.

Answer: We can do that, but the thing is it doesn't really help. He explained that bone mets don't "seed". He said the bone mets have gotten there because they seeded from somewhere else, from the primary lung tumor. He said they CAN grow and cause problems, however, they don't "seed" and start new tumors other places. If he treated an area where there is cancer in the bone, the cancer in that area would be stopped or slowed down in its growth, but it really didn't do anything for all the other spots in the rest of the bones and they can't radiate his whole body. He said the purpose of chemo is to kill the cancer that is in the blood stream (and thus, the bones) that seeded from the lung. He also said many times those areas, especially after getting chemo and Zometa, never cause a problem, so they don't radiate them unless they cause pain. He said if my hubby started to have pain that didn't go away (in other words, not just an occasional twinge, etc.), they would immediately begin radiation. He wouldn't have had such severe pain in his shoulder if (cough, cough) he would have listened to me and got it checked when it first started. :roll:

2. Will that hole in the bone go away?

Answer: If it does, it will take 4-6 months. (see above)

3. I've heard a lot about PET/CT scans combined in one. Do we have those in Indianapolis?

Answer: We can fuse a PET and a CT, but there isn't really a big advantage in having this more expensive equipment and cost to the patient. The treatment is going to be the same. If radiosurgery is going to be done, they get precise location and measurements from a CT.

4. I understand that cancer divides and that's how it grows. I've heard some people say the cancer "ate through the bone." Is that actually what it does?

Answer: It doesn't actually eat through the bone. The good cells just can't fight the bad cancer cells, and so, the good cells die and the cancer cells take over.

At this point, he said, "OK, that's 4 questions, that's your limit," and kiddingly slapped me on the knee. I told him I was done anyway, but thanks for answering my questions, even if I wasn't his friend. :lol:

5. How come they didn't do a PET scan in the beginning to see if I had cancer in all these places?

Answer: The treatment would have been the same. We knew from the beginning since there were brain mets, and particularly so many of them, that the cancer was already in the blood stream and there could be bone mets. The way to try to stop it is with radiation to the primary tumor and chemo for the rest of the body. And then later, if chemo hasn't wiped out the cancer and bone mets cause a problem, we use radiation.

Well, that's it. Hope that long question/answer helps somebody. I wish you could see my happy face today. It's a lot different than the way I was feeling on Saturday.

Love to all,


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Firstly, so pleased to read that things are going well and you had a good appointment with your fave doctor.

Secondly, thank you so very much for sharing that information with us. That was so thoughtful of you. I really appreciated it. My Mum had a secondary in her rib (which was removed for histology) but I have always been scared that this tumour could have "seeded" itself, but now I realise that the bone mets don't seed (of course I realise the primary could still be doing this!). But I always wondered why they weren't continually checking Mum's bones for new mets and now I know why. Thank you

Love to you



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Thanks so much for that information!!!!

I encourage everyone who gets information like that to share because it really does help. I will be honest, the main reason I came here was to gain knowledge. Through the process I was fortunate and blessed to have met so many people :) So the support and love and new famiy is just the icing on the cake.

Hearing information and learning from other people's experiences makes me feel better informed. So a big tahnk you!

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Peggy, Thanks so very much for sharing that info. It makes me feel a little better equipped to understand what may happen with Bob's treatment if this is indeed a tumor on his spine or a met to bone.

Thanks again and glad you had such a good appt.


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P.S. I just thought of one more thing he said. Right before we left I asked him if he had trouble in his shoulder again, would they do radiation again. He said, "Wellllllllllllll (with a look of doubt). Never say never, but I guess it would depend . . .." He then added that if they did, it would usually only be if a good amount of time had passed and would depend on other cirumstances. He also then added, "Now, if it was the spine, the answer would be a definite NO. There's just so much radiation that you can give to the spine, and it remembers it forever." He said too much radiation and you can severely damage the cord.

And one more thing, in exactly 15 minutes, my husband will be one year older and Sat. will be one year since he was diagnosed. When I remember the severe headaches he was having this time last year, and the terrible time he had with chemo and radiation last fall, I am even more thrilled with his status today.

Good night, now

Love, Peggy

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I am so happy that you got 'up' news, always so welcome. And what a dream of an onc you guys have, can you get him to write the "Good Oncologist" handbook.

Please wish your husband a happy birthday and wishes for many, many more.

Prayers that the news continues to be positive.


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Congrats all around -- on the good news and the birthday! :D:D

My Radiation Oncologist is also my favorite, or at least a tie with the Pulmonologist. Everyone where I go for radiation is SO very nice, and I'm always greeted with smiling faces. The docs there are aces in my book. I also leave there feeling encouraged and positive each and every time.

Thanks for sharing the good info.


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Dear Peggy,

A Happy Birthday to your husband and may he have many, many more!

I am so glad to hear your good news, we all need this after such a sad time last week.

You have a jewel of a Dr. there Peggy, our doc. is always so busy he would never answer all those questions. Dave is rather long winded in asking questions too, so I don't fully blame him.

That explanation about the bone cancer he gave you is very informative, thanks for passing it on.



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Peggy- Thanks for posting your update, I LOVE hearing positve news! I am so glad he is doing better, and the shoulder is better. I know (not from experience) that bone mets cause a great deal of pain, my husband has had several.

Your questions/answers were great, I learned a little about bone mets that I did not know.


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