Small cell lung cancer


Can anyone please give me some advice? My mum has been diagnosed with a rare type of sclc that was diagnosed in the summer. She has rheumatoid arthritis which she has taken methotrexate for around 25yrs. The hospital stopped this when they discovered her tumour in the right upper lung. They were going to start radiotherapy but when they scanned her for the planning of treatment the tumour had shrunk dramatically with no treatment. They decided to watch & wait for 4wks, it remained stable so they left it for another 4wks which after that time it was back to the original size again. They went ahead & did 12 sessions of radiotherapy. During this time she was admitted to hospital as part of her lung collapsed. She has now been started last week on chemotherapy carboplatin & pemetrexed. My mum is 74 & now cannot do anything as she is so exhausted & breathless. Is this a normal side effect of the chemo, I know they say you will get tired but as I say she is unable to do even the smallest task & it's just not my mum to be looking that. Is there anything I can do to help with this or anything she can do to improve this. We are seeing the doctor on 5 January & the next cycle is supposedly on the 7 January. I'm so worried about her & at my wits end. Please any advise would be much appreciated.

11 Replies

  • Hi I am sorry to hear your Mum is feeling so worn out ,certainly some of it will be the chemo and the radiotherapy side effects ,perhaps once her blood count improves she may start to feel better ,after having carboplatin on my last cycle I took to lying down a lot as I frequently felt breathless and dizzy upon getting up. I did develop a love of red meats and green vegetables at this time even though everything else made me feel yuk .They body sort of tells you what it needs .I never had radiotherapy or pemetrexed a different mix was ordered for me .Your Mum is also older than myself so she must be feeling it .If you are really concerned contact the chemo unit or lung care nurse they may check her bloods earlier which might be helpful .Try not to worry too much things do improve and it is always harder to watch these things happen to those we love than to be the person experiencing it all .Hope it all improves for her over Christmas a.Diane .

  • Thank you so much for replying it really means a lot. I hope you are feeling well and have had a lovely Christmas. Lots of good wishes to you for 2016.

  • Chemo and radiation will knock you to your feet. She should not push herself. Plenty of rest and make sure she eats.

  • Thank you so much for replying it really means a lot. I hope you have had a lovely Christmas. Lots of good wishes to you for 2016.

  • Hello, the best thing for your mum is rest, if she is able, foods with lots of iron and vitamins. I had chemo after my lung operation last year, it did knock me about but thankfully came through it, you are helping her with your support, but let her is ten to her body, rest is a great healer. I was 72 when operated on so there is lots of hope for your Mom.


  • Thank you so much for replying it really means a lot. I hope you are feeling well and have had a lovely Christmas. Lots of good wishes to you for 2016.

  • Hello again

    I wondered if I could ask you a question please? Did you struggle to eat & loose weight? Any eating tips? Thank you so much!


  • hello again. Yes I did struggle to eat and keep weight on and without the help of Ensure (a drink supplement from doctor) I woukd make myself have at least one a day, I would have lost more weight. Is the problem keeping weight on or loosing it?

    Hilde 72

  • Thank you for taking the time to reply to me again! The hospital have my mum the ensure drinks last week & she has been having one a day but I'm really worried how thin she is she just can't seem to stop loosing weight the last weigh in she was 7.5 stone. She eats very little but is trying hard. Today was a good day & she did eat well for her! She really is suffering with feeling the cold too!

    I really hope you are doing well & have had a nice Christmas. I really appreciate your kindness in taking time to think of advising fellow sufferers.

    Best wishes


  • Hi Charliebarney

    Is your Mom in hospital or at home? She really needs to try and have 2 ensure a day. I used to keep having a few sips throughout the day, even if she on,y manages another half its a lot of calories and goodness for her. She has to get her weight up because the chemo will knock her about more. Scrambled eggs with grated cheese. I used to write everything down I ate and drank and added up the calories, she has to try for at least 900 a day. Does she take sugar in drinks, add a bit more although unless the drink is loaded with calories and goodies she is wiser eating. Little and often, I know it's not easy, drinking chocolate is good but the best is Ensure, 2 of those a day will really boost her calorie intake and help her organs. Tell her to stick with it, she'll get there. All the very best to you all


  • Thank you so much for your reply! Mum is up to 2 ensure a day now thanks to your advice. We are at the hospital tues for bloods & to see doc about if she's up to chemo on thurs but our suspicions are that she will need a blood transfusion first as she already had anaemia prob before all this & she has become so breathless. She had a transfusion in the beginning of Nov but I think chemo has prob knocked her bloods severely as the breathlessness is like before when her haemoglobin gets very low. Did you have this problem?

    I really hope your well and would like to wish you a very happy positive new year!


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