My mum has recently been diagnosed with non small cell lung cancer. Her CT scan, which she had nearly a month ago, was only from her chin to her knees and one single tumour in her right lung was found. She has a treatment plan for that and the doctors say that it is "curable".
In the last ten days or so her sister and I have been noticing rather worrying signs in her behaviour. She seems to be having terrible trouble thinking of the words for things sometimes, the one time she has driven her car she was very erratic, driving over the pavement and crossing over to the wrong side of the road, and today we had a massive argument because she flatly denied that we had had several conversations in the last couple of weeks which I can remember almost verbatim. Her sister has noticed the same thing with her denying that certain things have happened when several other people know they happened and even witnessed them.
Her sister and I are concerned that the cancer may have spread to her brain (my mum's younger sister died 8 years ago with lung cancer, lymph cancer and 16 brain tumours). She has only had one scan so there is no way of telling at this stage how quickly the lung tumour grew.
Does anyone else have experience of those kinds of symptoms? We understand that they could just be stress-related, or after-effects of her one dose of chemo, or even age-related although she's only 63. It just seems too much of a coincidence that these symptoms have only started to exhibit themselves alongside the lung cancer.
We asked her consultant if there were any plans for further scans but he said that the only one planned would be a targeted scan of the tumour in her lung to see if it was shrinking after some radiotherapy, but no suggestion of any other parts of her body being scanned.
Any suggestions gratefully accepted!
The following user gives a hug of support to shadowcharmed: Chrry1971 (08-06-2012)
It is so weird... My mother, also 63, was diagnosed with non small cell lung cancer stage IIIA in November of 2011. She has received two seperate treatments of radiation for a total of 25 and only one dose of chemo.
She just finished her radiation a month ago and now they say it has spread to her brain (thru scans). She was acting strangely and repeating herself 2-3 times. I knew something was wrong. I just don't understand how it spread so fast when it hadnt spread before the treatments.
Now, they say it could be weeks - but if she gets another treatment of radiation, she could have months. The side effects will be her losing her hair, burning of her skin, memory problems, and later possible dementia.
Either only a few weeks or prolong with other problems only to go thru it all anyways in a few months, but worse. OMG....
What do i do? Or, does she do? This is completely absurd!!!! If the radiation worked, why did it spread to her brain in less than a month? I can barely breathe!!!!!!! I have no choice but to accept losing my mother.... Soon! Either way.
You need to demand scans of her brain! Whole body scans, if you want! Get second opinions, too! Time is not on your side - make the doctors act! I am so sorry for what you and your mother are going thru! To have our first loves taken from us in such a way is NOT the way it should be!
I'm so sorry to hear about your mother. Cancer truly sucks, doesn't it?
Your public profile doesn't say where you are but I'm guessing from your spelling of "thru" that you're in the States. I think the system there may be a little different but here in the UK, with the National Health Service (which is free), patients (and families) can't demand anything. If the consultant doesn't think it's necessary to do a scan then that's that. Even getting a second opinion is a nightmare because two consultants in the same hospital are unlikely to contradict each other - most of them are on the same team who have already agreed on a diagnosis, prognosis and treatment plan. You can't shop around for a hospital either so you can't just go to a different hospital and ask to be treated there instead.
The only way to really get another opinion/treatment would be for her to pay for it and that's really not an option.
As far as the spreading is concerned, I don't understand how it works but it does seem that cancer is truly a law unto itself. While radiotherapy is targeting one small area or one tumour, cancer cells can still head off round the body and attack other areas. As I understand it, that's what chemo is for - to mop up any other areas of cancer which haven't actually been diagnosed as being cancerous.
My mum's sister and I are keeping a close eye on her mental state and we will of course alert the doctors to any further changes. At the moment, it's a little better than it was. She has started seven weeks of radiotherapy, five days a week, and had her second bout of chemo last Monday. Her hair has started to fall out from the one round of chemo she had four weeks ago and she seems to have resigned herself to that. The doctors are still talking about a "cure" which of course here means remission of normally a maximum of five years, but she was so ill from the first bout of chemo that further treatment was delayed by several weeks as she was too weak to undergo it.
I hope things go as well as they can for you and your mother. All that can really be done in these situations is to make sure we make the best use of whatever time is available.