The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
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Inoperable to operable

Hi, I am stage 4 lung cancer with mets I've been on permetexed and cisplatin for nine weeks. I am due one last session then will be put on a drug for ALK mutation. I was wondering if anyone has ever gone from inoperable to operable after chemo even if they where told in the beginning they where inoperable. If the chemo shrinks the tumor can and will they operate? Probably a silly question but I can hope?

4 Replies

Hi there

I am stage IIIb - it had gone to both sides of my neck. I was told I was inoperable. I had 4 rounds of chemo (cisplatin / pemetrexed) and then 30 sessions of radiotherapy. The scan showed only activity in the primary after this so they agreed to operate. I had an upper right lobectomy last summer.

Am on three monthly scans since then and so far they have been NED. Next ones due next week so fingers crossed!

Hope this gives you some hope and good luck



Hi Giblets9,

As you can see from the response from Janie in some cases decisions can be changed in relation to surgical intervention based on response to treatments.Each patients care, management and treatment is very individualised.I suggest you ask your Oncologist at your next hospital visit.You could also ask your local Lung Cancer Nurse Specialist who might respond sooner

Kind regards,


That is very good news you have the ALK mutation. It opens up treatment options. There are many long-term survivors with this mutation - I know of one at 11 years. If you respond well to an ALK inhibitor like crizotinib, it can mean dramatic shrinkage of tumours. There's a very good group on Facebook for ALK positive people, with many long-term "ALKies". Best of luck to you.


Thank you I am a member already :)

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