The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
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Newbie On behalf of my mum

Hi all. My wonderful mum was first diagnosed with advanced stage small cell lung cancer with lymph node involvement almost 5 years ago. She had surgery to remove over half of her lung and the lymph nodes. She had one round of chemo but was extremely ill from this and refused any more. She had almost 5 years of healthy happy life and now it has returned in the sam lung. She had a biopsy in February but an artery was caught and she hemorrhaged meaning the biopsy failed and they are unwilling to try again. Therefore they do not know if the same cancer has returned or if this is a new cancer making Chemo not a viable option as they don't know what they are dealing with. We saw Dr Bittar at Blackpool yesterday who told us that this is going to be a very difficult fight due to the position of the tumours (2 x small but growing fairly rapidly) PET scan shows they are confined to the same lung as previously operated on and there is no spread. Removal of the lung is not an option as he doesn't think she would survive this. One of the tumours is 2 mm from an artery to the heart, and next to the wind pipe. He said it would be very tricky and until he was operating he wouldn't know for sure if he could remove them, depending on position and also adhesions left from the previous surgery. If he felt it wouldn't work he would abandon the operation and close up but then a biopsy could be taken, although as he says this would be a big price to pay for a biopsy. Another complication is mum had a heart attack in November last year and has two large stents placed, and is on anti-coagulants for a year. She would have to stop taking them for a week placing her at risk of the stents becoming blocked and having another heart attack. Mum is 78 and in reasonable good health. After being pressed yesterday Dr said that he could possibly do a biopsy via her windpipe and then chemo/radiotherapy instead but best chance of saying she could be 'cured' would be surgery. We have also found another treatment for inoperable cancers called Photodynamic Therapy (PDT). I am sorry if this is such a long post but mum has two days to make a decision and I am trying to find out as much as I can. We use another of HU's Communities for another condition and have been helped a lot so hoping I can get help here. Has anyone had any similar experiences or heard of the new PDT? Thank you in advance.

2 Replies

HI jenferdog

Welcome to the forum and sorry to hear about your Mums illness, such a difficult time for you all.

Photodynamic therapy is also called PDT or light activating treatment. It kills cancer cells by using a combination of a light sensitising drug and a very bright light.

This is used for non-small cell lung cancer.

This treatment can shrink a tumour that is blocking an airway. It can relieve breathlessness and cough. You can find information on the following link below: (cancer research uk )

There is also some good information on the link below:

There is a lot to consider with your Mums heart problems, not just in accessing a biopsy to determine treatment options , but as you know, it is weighing up the least invasive that would prevent further health complications.

Perhaps discuss with your Mums lung cancer specialist nurse (of which you may have done already)

If you wish to discuss anything you can call us on our free nurse led helpline number on

0800 358 7200

Wishing you all the very best

Kind regards

The Roy Castle Support Team


Thank you


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