Any success stories on lung cancer treatments?

Hi all

My husband's oncologist has now given the go ahead for Chemotherapy. They said the mutation results are not ready and he wants to get started on a treatment.

The feeling is; lost, confused and helpless. Not knowing whether it will work or not. My question to you all is; Has anybody with lung cancer stage 3 had good results from Chemotherapy alone.

Also why do they leave the immunotherapy as the last resort? Did anyone have a success story on either one or a combination?

Please help me.

12 Replies

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  • Hi. It usually takes 3-4 weeks for the molecular analysis to give mutation results and these results will indicate the options for a targeted therapy (if there is one). Response to any treatment is very individual to each patient and many patients show an excellent response to chemo - with targeted options still in reserve to fall back upon and this is a good thing! I guess this is how your oncologist sees things.

    The alternative view would be to wait for the mutation results so the full range of available targeted options, and an alternative treatment sequence, can be properly considered. In the case of my wife, she started brain radiotherapy before the mutation results came back which showed her to have the ALK mutation. This meant there was an argument for her not having the debilitating radiotherapy at all and going straight on to a targeted drug therapy but the treatment had already started. This doesn't necessarily mean we wouldn't have proceeded with radiotherapy but it would have meant a different treatment options/sequence discussion. In the case of chemo, she was due to start it a week after the mutation result arrived but chemo was immediately cancelled as the oncologist thought it best in her case (stage 4 on diagnosis), and on the basis of the mutation result, to move straight to the targeted drug.

    These are of course all decisions and judgements based on specific patient circumstances and your oncologist's instinct to get treatment started asap is totally understandable, as it was in my wife's case. But there is no harm in having a risk/benefit talk with them on a short chemo delay depending on how much more time the mutation results are likely to take. One question worth asking is for confirmation that the biopsy taken was actually sufficient in size for molecular tests to take place so you then at least know they have actually started.

    Regardless of what Ive illustrated here, I think the bottom line is to go with your oncologist's best judgment.

    I wish your husband the very best with whatever treatment path you go with.

    Regards.

  • Hello Ribeye

    Thank you for your kind reply.

    You are absolutely right, we had a call today to say that because the mutation result has shown only 10 to 20%, they are going for Chemotherapy as a first line treatment with immunotherapy in reserve to fall back on if needed.

    These are uncertain times and I really do appreciate your support and kind words.

    I will keep you updated about my husband's journey and we hope your wife continues the positive response to her treatment.

    Kindest regards

    NTu21

  • Hi NTu21

    Ribeye has given you a good explanation and an account of his personal experience of his wife's management. Platinum-based chemotherapy is the standard first line treatment for lung cancer. Research is undergoing to see if chemotherapy can be replaced with immunotherapy as a first line treatment.

    Kind regards,

    All the team at Roy Castle Helpline

  • Hello

    Thank you for your kind reply.

    You are absolutely right, we had a call today to say that because the mutation result has shown only 10 to 20%, they are going for Chemotherapy as a first line treatment with immunotherapy in reserve to fall back on if needed.

    Thank you Roy Castle Team for your support during these uncertain times.

    Kindest regards

    NTu21

  • Hi there - just read your post and I may be able to shed a bit of light on the chemo only road! I was diagnosed in June 2013 Stage 3 and quite large! It was too near my major blood vessels for surgery and they went ahead with chemo and concurrent radiotherapy. I am still here and still in remission!! So YES chemo does work on its own especially where surgery is dangerous - My tumour was nicely wrapped around major vessels, a needle biopsy got the required results (done in the x-ray dept externally) easiest test I had done and the least uncomfortable too. So I hope this gives you some hope - it is a goddam awful time for you - but I just wanted you to know that there are success stories too - and I am one of them. Vee

  • Thank you Vee.

    Your experience has certainly given me hope and when I gave your reply to my husband to read, he cried. It made him realise that there is a chance of survival.

    He tells me he's tough but I know he's not. He is very scared and he keeps it all inside.

    He is scheduled for Chemotherapy in two weeks time so a bit emotional at the moment.

    Again, I'm so grateful to you for your post and I hope you keep going for a long long time.

    Regards

    NT

  • Hi again, I am so glad I could help. I can give you more details of my 'small chance of a cure' given to me by my Oncologist. After being told I had inoperable cancer - I lost all hope and subsequently made all my funeral arrangements and went through a very traumatic time - clearing out everything so that the people who were to deal with my affairs had little to do after my death. Psychologically it is a time of severe emotional crisis. If you and your husband want to have more help and hope - feel free to inbox me at veecatz@live.co.uk. My onc had decided to start treatment before all the results were in - the biopsy to ascertain the type of cancer was so important - but she wanted to get on and treat me. However, a last ditched attempt with the needle biopsy was successful and it turned out to be squamous cell carcinoma(smokers cancer). the treatment was arduous, but it was just one foot in front of the other a day at a time. Some people react differently - so your husband may well be ok on it. the drugs they used were venoralbine and cistplatin( if spelled correctly!) Anyway, its nearly 4 years since diagnosis and I am still in remission. I also had a peek at survival rates (I am a retired nurse) and it seems that the younger you are the survival rates are better in some cases. I was 60 at diagnosis, so I would say your husband comes in the younger category!! Its taken a long time to allow myself to think that I may have some time left, - I rehomed my pet cat 4 years ago. On Monday I am going to collect Harriet an 18 year old moggie who just needs some love and cuddles. I have decided to adopt her and hopefully she will end her days with me and not me end my days with her!!

    Keep positive - and accept the help you are offered. I went to Hospice Day Care once a week where I could relax and be pampered. Both patients and their carers can get free therapies (eg reflexology, psychohypnotherapy, aroma massage etc etc) Anyway, do tell your husband that there is hope, and I was stage 3 with the tumour size 4 - but if you want the exact label I will look it up and let you know. Keep positive, despite the emotional roller coaster you are both going through. It's lovely to still be here and in a postion to help others. Take good care of yourselves Vee

  • Hello Vee

    It was nice hearing from you again. We are both very grateful and are going through the same agonising experience you went through but with me thinking I have to plan for things I've never thought I should be planning for and not being able to because it upsets him. I've got to think about paying the bills too and it breaks my heart to leave him at home to that horrible feeling. Although my boss is understanding, I'm not sure whether he will pay me for not turning up!.

    Anyway, i will let you know how my husband gets on with his Chemo which starts on 19th January. But if you've got any advice on how to get ready then please let me know.

    Thank you so so much Vee for your help.

    NT

  • hi ntu21.just wanted to reply to your post to let you know that I had stage 3 nsclc, was diagnosed in October 2015.i had a 5cm tumour in my left lung with lymph node involvement.i had two combined chemos carboplatin and another one cant remember the name.had 6 rounds of the chemo and the tumour shrank from 5cm to 2cm.then I was able to have surgery.i had vats.keyhole sugery to remove it.have three monthly checks at the moment and the xrays have been clear.so iam hoping it continues to be clear.wishing you and your husband the best in his treatment.kate.

  • Hi Kattek

    Thank you for your kind reply. My husband is due in for Chemotherapy in a couple of days and just hope that has similar success with it. It has been emotionally hard to cope with it all and I'm so grateful to you and all those who replied to give us hope.

    My husband has the same as you; cancer in one lung and two lymph nodes which makes it inoperable at this stage and that's why they are going for chemo. They haven't given us any idea of other treatment options after this but we have to trust the onchologists who I'm hoping know what they are doing.

    Thank you again for your reply and I hope you keep on going for a long long time.

    Kindest regards

    NTu21

  • hi again ntu21.my tumour was to big for the op until I had the chemo.had it was 5cm in lymph nodes.the chemo shrung it enough to have the op.so chemo does work.its a year in march since I had it done.having my 3 monthly scan again on Monday 30th jan.so praying it has got rid of it.all the best to your husband, and hopefully he will get good results.

  • Hi Kattek

    Thank you for your continued kindness. My husband started his chemo two weeks ago and he had some trouble with it. He felt dizzy and blacked out which was very scary. So spent a day at the A&E and Onchology where they gave him fluids.

    Anyway, Thank you so much for your support and i hope you hear good news tomorrow.

    Take good care of yourself. Lots of love. Xx

    NTu21

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