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No prognosis? why?


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I was wondering, is there a reason why my Moms doctor wont give her or us a prognosis? Is it because its so bad that she doesnt wan to scare us? are they not allowed to tell you this?

the only thing we hear is that its different per individual. WE KNOW THAT! shhesh. but we keep reading and reading and we find that there are stats with NSCLC, but non include the fact that it spread to the brain, so in my mind, those stats are useless.

its so frustrating. Thanks for any thoughts.

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I think that by the time it is stage 4 for nsclc or extensive for sclc, they cannot talk about a cure. But at the same time, everybody is different and the statistics do mean half of the people live longer. But I think they would tell you if you asked them directly. At least give you a range. There are lots of people who live a lot longer than expected by those stats, and a lot of people who don't want to hear them.


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Firstly I'd like to say that maybe the reason you are not getting a prognosis for your Mum is because the doctors simply do not know her prognosis. And this is true.......they don't know, in fact no-one knows (my apologies to those people who believe that God knows :).

Your Mum is a Stage IV NSCLC, so I understand, and I am not sure why you are having any problems finding statistics on that as I have found loads on the net. The survival stats will not necessarily be broken down into stage IV with brain mets, and stage IV without brain mets. so perhaps that is the problem. Clinicians tend to look at survival by stage alone.

My Mum is a Stage IV NSCLC and the published survival stats are pretty dismal, so I would prefer to look at this lung cancer board and see how many people are still on here, defying those statistics, happy and healthy and at Stage IV. My Mama is one of those! I hope yours continues to be too. Sending you a whole world of positive thoughts, to you and your Mum.

with best wishes



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My brother was in a very similar situation as your mother when he was diagnosed (lung, kidney, adrenal gland, three brain tumors). We took him out to MD Anderson for a 2nd opinion and the doctor there (who teaches oncology) told us that of all the people diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, 50% will live between 8 and 12 months from the time of diagnosis, and the other 50% will fall on either side of that time frame. Being the math geeks and pollyannas that we needed to be at that time, we focused on the fact that the "bell curve" never really had an ending on the right-hand side (meaning the "live a longer time" side), so he might just be one of those who "lives forever" with the disease.

That being said, I want to caution you, as others have, that those are just statistics. But I know where you are right now . . . as hard as it was to hear what the doctor said, I/we needed to hear it. Another thing she said was that because of TBone's "condition at diagnosis," she would expect him to be one of the ones who lived in the longer end of that 8-12 months or even be in the 50% group that lived longer. She went on to explain that the "condition at diagnosis" meant just that - and my brother did not look or act sick at all. He had in fact gained weight cause the Decadron was making him eat like a horse, and the brain met symptoms (which led to the diagnosis in the first place) had disappeared. She indicated that some people are not diagnosed until they can't even walk into her office, and THOSE are the people she would expect to live the shorter time frame.

But alas, my brother's decline was quite swift, and he only made it a few days past seven months. So - statistics being what they are - since he fell on the "short" side, someone needs to offset that by being on the "long" side, and there's no reason that can't be your Mom! :)

Praying for us all,


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The onc could probably give you a statistical answer, but that is an average, and an old average at that. The doc can't really pinpoint your mom's case, as others have said. I find it is less frustrating on concentrate on the here and now rather than what might be. Make the most of the time you have, whatever that may turn out to be. Otherwise, you drive yourself crazy with "what if's" -- which doesn't help anyone. Best to you. Don

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I know that this is an important question for you. It was for me too. I am the patient and wanted to have some kind of an idea of what I was looking at. My doctor did a very detailed explanation of the "statistics" and said that the "average" for people with my diagnosis and stage was less than 1 year. So, I thought in my head, well I'm definately not average, I have no other health problems so I am going to at least DOUBLE that! I am now at 17 months past diagnosis. Pretty good huh?

Don't put too much stock in the statistics. You really have to weigh your mom's situation against any generalized statistics.

Hope this helps!


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