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Cancer: Lung Message Board

Stage 4 metastatic Lung Cancer

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Old 09-29-2004, 02:53 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 16
Lucy32 HB User
Stage 4 metastatic Lung Cancer

Hello, I am new here and am thankful that I have found a palce like this!
I have a few,well maybe a lot, of questions!
My mother was recently diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic lung cancer. (Large Cell) In late August, a tumor was found in her brain. She had a crainiotomy to remove as much of the tumor as they could. It is my understanding that the cells in her brain tumor resemble abnormal lung cells. After having an MRI, PET, CAT and bone scans, no other tumors have been found. (there is a suspicious spot on her spine that showed up during the MRI but her Dr.s are not sure that it is bone cancer) All of these tests have been negative for lung cancer. She has had surgery for lung cancer 10 years ago and had been cancer-free untill now. Does anyone know if it is typical for the primary tumor to not be found? Am I correct to assume that if the diagnosis is metastatic lung cancer, there HAS to be lung cancer? Could it be possible that the cancer could be hidden due to old scar tissue from her surgery 10 years ago?
Also, on our first visit to the Radiation oncologist, we were told that her prognosis is about 4-6 months. My mother's job required a letter of her prognosis (longer story) and now the Dr.s will not provide me with a prognosis. I am happy with the care they are giving her but am very frustrated that they no longer will tell me what to expect as to how long she may have. I know each person is different but I am wondering if 4-6 months is typical of this diagnosis or if her prognosis may have improved due to the lack of lung tumors?
My mother is being treated with radiation and Temador (chemo) for her brain tumor. This is palliative care only.
Thank you for reading and for any answers you may have for me!

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Old 09-29-2004, 09:32 PM   #2
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: midwest
Posts: 431
positive4u HB User
Re: Stage 4 metastatic Lung Cancer

Lucy32-If the cells from the tumor in her brain were those of abnormal lung cells, then the primary tumor must be from the lungs. I understand that the primary tumor is sometimes not found, but pathologists(as in her case) can often decide where the cancer originated from by identifying the type of cells in the tumor. Theoretically, all it would take to start a tumor is for 1 cell to start dividing out of control. If this cell started in the lungs and metastisized to the brain it could start growing there. This may be the only tumor in the body. Then again there could be undetectable microscopic tumors in the lungs or, as you mentioned, they might be starting near the scar tissue. It is impossible to predict a prognosis without knowing the details the doctors know. Doctors may shy away from putting prognosis details on paper outside of their practice setting.

Old 09-29-2004, 11:38 PM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Central Minnesota
Posts: 163
Lady_J_1_01 HB User
Re: Stage 4 metastatic Lung Cancer

Lucy, I am sorry for your great sorrows. The 'tree' thing and timming is really something... I have simmalair things happen within my family. Good for you that you quit smoking.
I to wonder the outcome of some people struggle to stop the habit then seem to get LC. I beleive (my therory)for the ones who stop and get it, the body is perging the buildup and the cillia are regaining more movement in the lungs, thier is cell changes occuring, and healing.. (as are all the time in our bodies) and one cell goes astray, and a tumor is born. Then thier are others who stop and never do get CA. So many things play a part. Predisposition,outside factors etc... I guess it goes back to all we can do is our best and the rest is in the Lords hands...
my heart goes out to you in these very tuff days that lye ahead for you. I will be praying for you and yours. Mattie

Old 10-02-2004, 09:00 PM   #4
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Join Date: Aug 2004
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jogordon HB User
Re: Stage 4 metastatic Lung Cancer

Hi Lucy,
Sorry to hear about your Mom. I lost my Mom a year ago this past June to lung/brain cancer. The brain is one of the common places that lung cancer wil metastacize to. My Mom had a left lobectomy and was doing GREAT! Then she began to get headaches, and it ended up being 3-4 tumors in her brain. She had never had headaches in her life.
We took her to Cedars-Sinai, on top of her regular HMO doctors, seeking a 2nd opinion. She did the chemo and radiation, but eventually succumbed to extremely large blood clots on her lungs. (We still have no answer as to how they got there or became so big.)
You say the therapies your Momis undergoing are palliative, but they do have negative effects. You guys have to do what your heart tells you as far as continuing to fight the cancer, and never give up. They told my Mom she had 6 mos. to a year to live and she was gone in 3 months. I wold say that regardless what they tell you, do what you can and what your Mom wants to do, as far as her care goes. Also, do waht you can as far as enjoying life and doing things, and learning things about her childhood, and the foods she likes to eat. (I gave my Mom the first Rice Krispy treats she had ever eaten, and yogurt too. We watched Jerry Springer and all the "judge" shows in the morning, and game shows in the afternoon. People sent her get well cards she couldn't answer, so I answered them for her.)
I thank God that I was able to spend so much of my time with Mom before she passed away. On the one hand I am angry at my siblings who generally speaking wouldn't call her for a month or two (OR MORE) at a time, even to say HI. (I had always called my Mom just about every day because it brought her such joy and I knew that. ) But on the other hand I feel sorry for them that they didn't get to enjoy her company near the end.
I'll quit rambling now - but just want you to know my prayers are with you and your Mom and family. I hope it brings you all closer like it did us. Just take care of your Mom and enjoy the good times while you can.

(By the way, I don't know why the he#& they would want a letter of prognosis, rather than just a letter from the doctor stating she is ill and is undegong XYZ therapy - that's just plain silly!)

p.s. Make sure to take care of YOU too.

Old 10-03-2004, 02:58 AM   #5
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 16
Lucy32 HB User
Re: Stage 4 metastatic Lung Cancer

Thanks for the replys.
Jo, I too, am dealing with my brother who never calls to see how my Mom is doing. He is the one that promised that he would come home at least every other weekend to help me out with things and has not showed up in a month. It is so sad that he is doing this as I believe he will come to regret not being here when she does pass.
The prognosis letter was needed so she could access her pension and 401K plan without so many penalties. More importantly, it was so the company could expedite the whole process of getting the monies available. I guess it normally takes several weeks to access the money but with the letter, they will be able to get the money to her in just a couple of weeks.
Jo, I am so sorry to hear about your mother. I know when they say one has a certain amount of time there is never a garantee.
I did speak to the Dr.s a bit more on Friday and they finally did explain that the still do stand by her original prognosis of 6 months. They said it is because the brain tumor is still growing although much more slowly. I am to watch for signs that the tumor is progressing such as: personality changes, clumsiness, etc. They did tell me that there is absolutly no cure for this.
I am really trying to enjoy this time with her too. There are a lot of things I am learning about her that I cannot believe I never knew! There are great times and times that I feel pretty overwhelmed too! Sometimes I feel like a kid again when she tries to change how I do something. I try really hard when she tries to redecorate my house with her stuff to explain how she is welcome to decorate her room anyway she wishes! LOL! Oh boy, our tastes sure are very different. I try to find the humor in it though.
Thanks for listening,

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