Radiotherapy versus chemotherapy - The Roy Castle Lu...

The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation

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Radiotherapy versus chemotherapy

terrip profile image

Hello All

My Mum is 87 and in good health apart from the recent diagnosis of lung cancer. The Oncologist has only offered radiotherapy and not chemotherapy. Is my Mum considered too old for this? I haven't asked the Oncologist as I just assumed it would be intolerable for her, but after speaking to people, this may not be the case.

Does anyone have any advice please? It would be very much appreciated if I had some opinions before I go back to her doctor.

Thank you

5 Replies


As far as I'm aware, age does not come into the equation. However, the medics MAY consider that chemo would do your mother more harm than good, as it can have a very undesirable effect on some folk, but not on others.

Try to discuss the situation with a cancer nurse specialist at the hospital. They can usually give excellent advice.

Best wishes, Bill

Thank you Bill, I also thought the same...


Hi Terri,

Bill is quite right, age doesn't come into it. It is my belief that treatment is tailored to type and stage of the cancer, and depending on those things the patients fittness at the time. I was 49 when diagnosed and not eligle for radiotherapy to to the cancer spread. Do you know the stage and type? Ask your mums onchology team when you next see them why they have decided the treatment they have prescribed.

wishing you well

Lyn x

Hi Lyn

Thanks for you reply. Do you mind me asking you what other treatment you had due to the cancer spread? My Mum is awaiting a PET scan to determine this. They said that if it has spread, they can offer only 12 sessions of radiotherapy as opposed to the 20 if it hasn't. As I said in my post, I would like as much information as possible before seeing/speaking with the oncology


One more thing (actually I'm sure I'll be asking lots more in the future) are the cancer teams normally quite receptive to families challenging/discussing treatments? I'd hate to make myself a complete nuisance and my Mum ends up suffering as a result.


Terrip - never ever be afraid to challenge/discuss treatments, you should hopefully find that the team looking after your Mum will be supportive. Ask, find out as much as you possibly can. Good luck.

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