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Old 11-10-2010, 03:11 AM   #1
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Questions - Is this Stage IV and what does it mean?

On October 11 my Dad got confused at work. Couldn't form his words. Sent him to a hospital and they thought it was a mini-stroke. Cat scan revealed a mass on his brain. They did an MRI as he has a history of a brain aneyurysm which was successfully fixed 10 years ago. MRI showed a lot of swelling. A further scan showed a mass on his lung and they said it was most likely lung cancer which went to the brain. He was sent to a hosp closer to home.

They did a bronchocopy which came back inconslusive.

They did a pet scan which only showed the brain and lung masses.

They did another bronchoscpy, this time with a needle to the lymph node which came back clean, no cancer cells.

They removed the brain tumor - 99% of it. The last bit was too close to other things. They said they will do radiation to his brain in case its in the thin wall around his brain.

He recovered great from the surgery - walking, talking, joking, etc! He actually looks and feels great.

Monday is the meeting with his medical team where they will tell him the results of the tissue diagnosis. His neuro oncologist said after the pet scan it seems like it is non small cell due to it being localized and the two tumors looking the same (lung is smaller than brain was). His thoracic oncologist said at the first consult (before the pet scan or bronch) that his best chance of surviving this is removal of both tumors. They also said with localized tumors that 1 in 8 get treatment and it never comes back.

But I am scared. On Monday they are going to tell him the stage. I assume its stage 4 as it mets to his brain? How can it mets to the brain without being in the lymph node? Is the brain one definitley cancer because it lit up on the pet scan? Are they going to give him his time left on earth in mondays meeting??? Do they do that sort of thing? I am terrified. I love my Dad more than anything or anyone on this Earth.

 
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Old 11-10-2010, 07:46 AM   #2
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Re: Questions - Is this Stage IV and what does it mean?

Please...can anybody reply?

 
Old 11-11-2010, 02:30 AM   #3
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Re: Questions - Is this Stage IV and what does it mean?

Can someone at least tell me if its better to have non small cell than small cell?

 
Old 11-11-2010, 05:43 AM   #4
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Re: Questions - Is this Stage IV and what does it mean?

Hi moggymay

I believe it's better to have non-small cell than small cell. I read that non-small cell grow & spread more slowly than small cell.

Since your father's lung cancer spread to his brain, I would think it's stage IV - I read this "• Lung Cancer Stage IV cancer has spread from the chest to other parts of the body". I also thought stage IV meant it -had- to be in your lymphnodes, but i'm not entirely sure. My father had stage IV kidney cancer in 2008 and was told it was contained to ONLY the kidney and he did not even need chemo or radiation, etc. I was still afraid, because I thought stage IV meant it spread.. However, now almost 3 years later..My father has a large mass on the lower left lobe of his lung and a cancerous tumor in his femur bone. (the one in his femur bone is from the kidney cancer cells, we found out via biopsy) But like your dad.. My father's bronchoscopy came back inconclusive, so we're not 100% sure if the mass/tumor on his lung is from the kidney cancer he had or lung cancer. The DR's seem to be leaning more towards it being lung cancer.

I think the pet scan can pretty much tell if it's cancer or not. They show as 'lesions'. They won't offically SAY it's cancer until a biopsy is done, but the DR's usually know it when they see it. The brain is very well known to be 1 of the first places that lung cancer will spread to..

The DR's usually give a prognosis like "if we do this treatment, then there is this % chance' ...yadda yadda. If -no- treatment will work or they try but nothing is helping the patient and the DR's consider the patient to be 'terminal'.. they will usually tell the patient how much time they ASSUME they will have left. Of course, my friend's mom had breast cancer and was given 6 months and she ended up living well past a year.

I notice that you're in Mass.. Is your father set up with Dana Farber? I also live in Mass.

 
Old 11-11-2010, 07:03 AM   #5
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Re: Questions - Is this Stage IV and what does it mean?

Thank you so much for your reply. I just dont want anyone to say to him 'you have 6 months' in Monday's meeting! I Keep having nightmares about it. We're so scared. He doesn't even seem sick. If he hadn't had the symptoms from the brain tumor he never would have known he had this. I wonder how long it has been in his lung.

He is currently in Beth Israel but we're going to get the 2nd opinion done at Dana Farber in Boston. I few friends I know are nurses and they speak so highly about Dana Farber. I just want him to have the best shot possible. Plus they have a sattelite location one town over from him so he can have the radiation done closer to home instead of going into Boston.

When they first said 'cancer' on Oct 11 it was like a death sentence but now here we are a month later and we are trying to hold on to the little glimmers of hope we get - the pet scan only showing the two masses...the fact he had 99% of the tumor removed from his brain and bounced right back from surgery...the docs saying they assume its non-small cell just due to the sizes and locations...the first doc saying he had a chance of surviving it if he removed both masses...

But then I read the stats on the internet and it looks like people just dont survive this kind of cancer. I don't want to be without my Dad. He is more important to me than anyone or anything on this whole planet. He really is everything to me. I am so scared.

I hope your Dad will be OK. Does he feel sick? Why does this sort of thing have to happen.

Last edited by moggymay; 11-11-2010 at 07:04 AM.

 
Old 11-11-2010, 08:31 AM   #6
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Re: Questions - Is this Stage IV and what does it mean?

Hmm.. I don't think they will say that, unless they think your dad is terminal. Even in the worst case senerio .. I believe they will atleast TRY some type of treatment to see if it works, before 'giving up' and giving him a time frame on how much longer he has to live.

It's so crazy how quickly a life can change in an instant.. And it's not just your dad going through this, but your whole entire family is having to cope and deal and be supportive, etc.. It's a rollercoaster forsure

My dad didn't seem sick either !! He actually had NO symptoms and went for a follow up with the Urologist who did his kidney surgery.. (which I find odd, because he had blood work a week before with his primary then suddenly received a letter saying he has an appt scheduled with the urologist after 2 1/2 years??) They just sent him for a 'routine' scan and BOOM there it was on his lung. I read that most of the time, people have no symptoms and when they DO experience symptoms the disease is really advanced. Do you know the size of the tumor on your dad's lung?

Yes, Dana Farber is VERY good, amoung the best in the world. My father is set up with an Oncolgist from Dana Farber. Is your father scheduled for surgery or anything with Beth Israel? & Yes, the sattelite location is very convient! I work in health care and have friends who have dealt with cancer themselves and have been very helpful thus far. I can inbox you the link to the team at Dana Farber that specializes in lung cancer, if you'd like?

You know, it's weird too.. Because this all started with my dad in the middle of October as well & see how quickly things move along?? Although the waiting and 'not knowing" seems like it lasts FOREVER. Please trust me when I say I totally know what you mean about being scared, not knowing what's going to happen and feeling a wave of mixed emotions about everything. Wanting anwers right now, wanting to know what's going to happen down the line, is he going to be ok.. is he going to survive this?? I feel all of that too. Cancer is such a horrible disease. But do NOT give up hope, there is so much treatment out there. I've broken down quite a few times thinking the worst. But I can't give up and feel like this is the end.. Because I refuse to let go and throw in the towel. I won't... My dad won't either. I am sure it's the same for you and your family. It's so important to stay positive (especially around him) and research as much as you can to get the absolute best care for your dad. As far as reading online about the stastics, I did that too and freaked out.. but every case if different, everyone is different. Keep that in mind

My Dad has a slight cough and is sometimes out of breath kinda fast. My father also had severe pain in his leg and went to the ER a couple of weeks ago, after many tests and a bone scan, that's when they discovered he has cancer in his femur bone as well, so he currently can -not- walk at all on his leg. It's alil' hetic right now for him to say the least, oi. What about your dad, Is he having any other symptoms?? Thank you & I hope your dad will be ok as well

 
Old 11-15-2010, 11:51 PM   #7
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Re: Questions - Is this Stage IV and what does it mean?

Hi, sorry it has taken so long to reply its been a crazy couple of days.

Dad went to the doctor yesterday to get the results of the tumor removal and plan the radiation. They confirmed it is non small cell lung cancer with metastitized to the brain. When he was discharged from surgery the nurse said he would need radiation in case it got into the thin lining of his brain. Even last week she said he would need 10 days of whole brain radiation....so I was expecting them to say that. But his neurooncologist said they were expecting that as a worst case scenario as the tumor seemed to be involved with the skin/lining of his brain...but after testing there was in fact no involvement....so he only needs one radiation treatment called cyberknife. I guess its non invasive, really accurate and doesnt hurt or have many side effects. He said they would monitor every 2 months to make sure no cancer cells have returned.

His operating notes said that one of his veins in his brain was densely infiltrated with the tumor and was impossible to remove. Its about 1mm x 2mm leftover. I wonder if that is how it got to his brain, through the blood in the vein...since its not in the lymph nodes? Its all so confusing. But his doc said as far as what they originally thought compared to what the testing showed it is good news.

So he has his mapping for the radiation next Wednesday and the radiation the last week of Nov. And they are going to have him meet the lung doc again ASAP to plan that out. Apparently the tumor in his brain was bigger than a chestnut and the one in his lung is a lot smaller...which is strange since his lung tumor is the one causing all the trouble!

Is it weird that they are waiting so long to do anything on the lung? Shouldnt they be giving him chemo now to make sure they kill any cells floating around in his body? Why are they waiting so long, what if another tumor appears in all the time they are waiting? Docs say they had to treat brain as priority as it was causing all the symptoms but I just worry that if the lung one was aggressive enough to go to his brain then it might decide to go other places in the meantime.

How is your dad feeling? What treatments are they planning for him? Its so awful to have this happen, to have to watch someone you love so much try to pretend they arent worried. Hope you are OK.

 
Old 11-18-2010, 06:21 AM   #8
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Re: Questions - Is this Stage IV and what does it mean?

Hi Moggymay,

It's ok.. Same here with the crazy days, lol.

Wow, It seems like things are a lot better than you expected as far as results go for your dad! I am glad to hear it's not as worse and did they give a prognosis on how he will do with this? I know you were afraid to hear that during Monday's appointment..

I thought the SAME thing with my dad regarding the lung.. They seem to want to concentrate more on his bone than lung and i kept saying what if the tumor gets bigger and what if it spreads?? But I guess that chemo wears your immune system down and if they need to do surgery, they won't want the patient to be weak to the point where post-recovery makes things difficult. I would definitely be concerned about the lung too, I am sure they are as well.. since his lung is the primary source. Do you know how many tumors he has on his lung, is it just 1? One of my dad's doctors said an option to treat a lung tumor is 'going in and zapping it with radiation'.

My dad is doing ok right now. He had another bronchoscopy biopsy done on his lung the other day, because the 1st time it was inconclusive. So we have to wait for results from that to know surgery/treatment options. They are not even sure what cancer is in his bone right now either. We hopefully find everything out next week. Everything is a waiting game.. it sucks.

How is your dad feeling, is he ok with the treatment options? It is really hard to watch someone you love go through this.. We just have to be strong and fight and never ever give up hope! & good luck on Wednesday with his first treatment, I hope everything goes well

 
Old 11-26-2010, 09:26 AM   #9
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Re: Questions - Is this Stage IV and what does it mean?

Dear Moggymay,

I lost my father on the 1st of November this year. I know how hard it can get to have to fight this dreadful disease for the person as well as his really close one's.

My father was diagnosed with 4th stage small-call lung carcinoma in feb 2009 and started on his treatment March.Initially we had no idea as to what was going to happen as he was getting treated at AIIMS(All India Institute for Medical Sciences) where there are 10,000 patients everyday. His Oncology team was lead by one of the foremost oncologists in the world and he told us that the median survival time of a patient with his stage is 6 months (I do not know if this varies with American patients). My father fought right till the end, he fought through multiple brain mets and plueral effusion. In fact his cancer was in recession and he was taken by septecemia.

There are a lot of cures out there for you to try. Before I start telling you as to what all you should start doing immediately, I would like to know a few things from you.

1. How is your father taking it? Is he positive or resigned?
2. Have the doctors staged it and given you a line of treatment?
3. Has he been started on his Chemotheraphy?
4. How is his appetite?
5. Is he taking things orally?

These are the main questions that need to be answered after which I will be in a better position to help give you the right guidance.

Best of luck! You and your father are in my prayers.

 
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