The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
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Chemo after surgery

My son had surgery to remove the lower lobe of his left lung because of cancer. The Dr. said they got it all but because of the size 61/2 cm they want him to follow up with chemo treatments. Having a problem wondering if he should take it or not.

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I had a 4cm adenocarcinoma discovered in 2014 and had the lower left lobe removed. Surgery and recovery went extremely well. It was suggested chemotherapy would mop up residual cancer, but I was sure it had all gone and I'd get on with life. In 2016, the cancer had returned (they said it had metastasised across my lungs only) and was told it would be terminal. Sometimes I wonder if I should having gone for the chemo would have stopped this. Ask your son's doctors as many questions as you feel you need. Talk to others. Your new contacts on the Roy Castle website will advise. There is much experience and wisdom out there. All the very best,

Neil

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Thank you for your reply. Sending prayers to you. My son has decided to take the treatment.

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On balance and in view of what others have said, I think that's the right decision. If there are bad days, think "no pain, no gain". Nothing lasts forever and by accepting that, I have found strength.

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I had my right upper lobe removed in February 2017 due to a 5 cm adenocarcinoma. I opted to undergo chemo. My thoughts were that if it does ever come back, I want to think 'oh *!$%', not 'oh *1$% I wish I'd had chemo'.

The 'mop up' chemo involved is, I gather, far less onerous than the chemo they'd use to try to shrink or eradicate tumours. I had side effects, but they were mild. Partial hair loss, occasional nausea, I was sick on the third round but it really wasn't that bad. I had severe anaemia after my last treatment and was close to needing a transfusion, but iron tablets and time sorted me out. It wasn't a case of life being suspended for a few months. I was off work but quite enjoyed my time as a lady of leisure, went out for lunches, walked my dogs, catching up with friends and family.

I have a generous sickness benefit/insurance package so I went back to work at the beginning of November but really, I could have gone back before then. I don't feel I have any particular lingering effects. I've had a cold this year but other than that my immune system seems to be working. I perhaps have to pace myself a bit more but I'm still pretty active and most of all, I'm very much enjoying being here.

It is very much an individual choice as to whether someone has chemo but my advice would be to go for it. It's not like a gym membership or a mobile phone contract - you can stop at any time if you want to!

Best wishes to you and your son, whatever he decides.

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Thank you for your reply. Makes me feel better that you think the same way he does. He said any thing to keep the cancer away. So glad you are feeling much better and prayers for a continued healthy life.

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Dear Ia56

So sorry to hear about your son's diagnosis, but encouraging that it was removed successfully. All treatment options are research evidence based, you can find a list of approved National medical guidelines on the following link from N.I.C.E (National Institute for health and Care Excellence) for lung cancer treatments:

It is not unusual to receive either radiotherapy or chemotherapy post surgery.

nice.org.uk/guidance/cg121

Your son could discuss this with his lung cancer specialist nurse, Oncologist or GP if he has concerns. Any cancer treatment plan is to either treat, prevent spread or reduce symptoms. You could ask the cancer care team about other people who have had this and their outcomes. Perhaps some reassurance and being well informed (from health professionals) will aid in making the right decision.

We have a booklet you can download on surgery and chemotherapy for lung cancer:

documents.roycastle.org/AYQ...

roycastle.org/system/file_u...

If you wish to discuss anything you can call us on our free nurse led helpline number on 0800 358 7200

All the very best

The Roy Castle Support Team

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Thank you for the info. He has decided to do the treatment so we are praying they will help keep the cancer from returning. I will let you know how he handles the treatment.

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As others have said, best to talk to your son's clinicians directly as things have moved on such a lot in recent years and also more is understood about biomarkers/mutations with targeted agents that can help patients with different tumour burden (even if the type adenocarcinoma or squamous is the same as other patients as different factors may impact. I had a 7cm tumour removed along with left upper lobe in December 2010 and the type I had I was told didn't respond to chemo (wasn't EGFR mutated and this was the only test as far as I understood done at that time) - so far, so good….. As others have said not everyone responds to chemo in the same way and there are different agents and combinations of agents used in lung cancer so urge you/him to discuss with his clinicians as treatments are much more personalised these days. Good luck.

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Hello La56, it’ a difficult decision to make. What age is your son? As there are young people from teens upwards now being diagnosed with lung cancers. It’s no longer a smokers disease. It’s a decision that needs thought, information and choices.

Ask about opting for the serial X Rays or CT scans. It will give you and your Son thinking time. Lung Specialist and Oncologist will advise on options. And counselling.

Serial X Rays is the only thing I can do as there is no form of chemo treatment for the rare cancer that was found in pathology. In my case the right upper lung lobe was removed for removal of a cyst and collapsed lobe. 3rd May 2017. 5 weeks later I discovered I had a rare cancer of 11cm with a large cyst which I thought was 7 cm but turned out to 8.2ish I am having the Follow up checks every 3 months for 2 years, then 6 months upto 5 years.

Good luck to you and your son, whatever decision he makes.

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Our son is 56 and had the tumor removed and will now start chemo in a week. Thank you for your reply. I was worried about the treatment because the Dr said they got all the cancer.one never knows

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Good luck to your Son! I hope he does well with the chemo. At least it will put your minds at rest knowing that he is being helped.

Thank you for your reply!

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Hi I was in that situation in 2015 I had a upper right lobectomy followed by adjuvant chemo ,which I wasn't really prepared for however it was also in my lymph nodes so not great .All I can say is it is sought of belt and braces approach it is unpleasant but doable .I didn't lose my hair it just thinned out a bit the first two weeks are a bit miserable but then the body recovers a bit ,my cancer predictably has returned 2yrs later but I don't regret the chemo just feel I did as much as I could to get the cancer out of my system ,and I did have two reasonable years .It is hard to make that decision after such brutal surgery and whilst still trying to recover ,my chemo followed about a 6 weeks post op if that helps . It is not easy making these decisions but it is a personal choice at the end of the day .Good luck to your son .Hope he is feeling better soon.Diane

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Thank you for your insight. He has decided to go for the treatment and starts Feb. 5th. Very sorry to hear your cancer returned. Sending recovering prayers to you.

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Hi i had a 6cm large cell carcinoma resected oct 2012 and had 4 rounds of chemo due to the size . I am still clear over five years later , i would take the chemo it is doable and then you know youve hit the cancer with everything you can , no regrets .

Best wishes to you and your son

Jane

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Our son started his treatment two weeks ago and is doing very well so far. Thank you for your encouragement. He is taking cisplaytin and gemcidine.

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Good luck to your son please tell him to be kind to himself going through chemo . I would say rest as much as he needs to , dig deep and he will get through it . Thanks for keeping us informed best wishes to you all .

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Don't think my comment will help but it may for others. I had a 5cm tumour removed along with a piece of rib. This was 9 years ago, I had Radio theraphy before the op. I was supposed to have chemo as well. As I am in France a little bit went wrong in translation when I was in to have the chemo thingy inserted in to my chest. I was told on the day that I would have to stay in for the night. As I was not prepared for this i.e. no toiletries clean undies or a book I said no. Never did get chemo & here I am healthy & fit & at 70 still working as a gardener. Big hugs to every one who gets this awful thing, please don't give up I would like to know if the UK does radio theraphy before ops as well.

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Thank you for your reply. Every little answer helps us to try to conquer this decision.

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