Has anyone had a positive response to chemo with heart problems and diabetes?

Hi my mum is 72 she had the middle lobe of her right lung removed in February this year and was all clear, then in June this year she deleloped 2 lumps at the inscision sites, it was then revealed with an ultrasound and biopsy that it was cancer. Mum had a pet scan a few weeks later and it showed cancer in her liver, bone some lymph nodes as well as the lumps at the inscision sites, the cancer had seeded and she was diagnosed with stage IV nsclc. The lumps where the cancer seeded in the inscision scars have fungated and are proving troublesome, she received palliative radiation and it had minimal effect and she has just undergone another round of palliative radiation on those areas. Yesterday the oncologist said the only thing left to try is chemo but he's very hesitant about doing it due to mums age and other health issues such as heart problems and diabetes. Has anyone had these health issues and got a positive response to chemo without getting really sick? Everything just seems hopeless like there's nothing else that can be done and just keep her comfortable.


5 Replies

  • A major problem for patients with diabetes is the steroids that are needed to manage the chemo induced nausea and vomiting. It's likely that the dr is concerned that the steroids will cause her bloods sugar values to skyrocket and induce diabetes complications- life threatening ones.

    Talk to the dr about adding Metformin to her treatment to help control those numbers. I don't honestly know if it will help with standard chemo but I know people who are in clinical trials, that have issues controlling sugar levels are given Metformin.

    At this time, you would do well to help her get a second opinion at a National Cancer Care Network designated center of excellence. I will check back with a link to their site to help you find the center closest to her.

  • Hi Denzie, thank you so very much for taking the time to read my post and respond, I know mum is currently taking metformin for her diabetes. I did ask her oncologist about clinical trials at the start but he said she wouldn't be eligible for any, I'm not sure what it's like in other countries but here it seems that if your old and don't have private health insurance you seem to get basic end of life care and they just seem concentrate on pain relief. I've read quite a lot of posts on here and a lot of people seem to have scans done on their brain as a routine as it seems this cancer can spread to there often so I asked her oncologist why they don't do that with mum and he said they only do it if they are asked or if she developes symptoms. I will however see if we can get another opinion.

    Kindest regards Annette

  • If you explore the site a bit they will lead you to theirpartners in Australia.


  • I found nearly 56 lung cancer studies in Australia. Lets narrow the field a bit. What type of lung cancer is it? Small cell or non small cell. If non sclc what sub type? Adenocarcinoma, squamous, giant cell or other? Have they done genetic testing on the biopsy now that its considered stage 4? If yes do you know the results.

    If your mom wants to fight she should be given every opportunity.


  • Hi Denzie, The only things we have been told is that is in non small cell and they mentioned squamous cell carcinoma when they did a bronchoscope.I don't know about genetic testing, I only know that mum hasn't had any blood tests since the recurrence. She had a biopsy done in July unsing ultrasound guidence on the large lumps that appeared at the inscision sites from when she had her middle lobe removed and that's when they said the cancer had seeded but we were never told those results. When we first went to the cancer care centre and first spoke to the doctors I asked what stage and they said stage IV and that she couldn't be cured and they could only do palliative radiation she had her first round approx 5-6 months ago she went a total of 5 visits, they told us it was a low dose they were giving her. Last week she completed another round of radiation another 5 days but this time it was only used on the 2 large fungating lesions at the scar sites and they said that was all they could do for her as they were apprehensive about chemo due to her heart and diabetes. We don't seem to get told much unless I ask but it's hard to know what questions to ask as I kind of put my trust in them as doctors to know what to do, but after reading other people's stories on here it's opening my eyes and making me question if they are doing all they can for mum.

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