The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
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My husband has untreatable nscc of the lung and was told on Friday that the chemo and radiotherapy has not worked, the cancer has not shrunk and there are new nodules. He was offered either palliative care or erlotinib. We did not see his normal consultant and had very little time to make the choice. We were also a bit upset as you can imagine. The doctor we saw said that there was very little chance of the drug working especially when not used as a first treatment option but my husband chose to take eroltinib since at least there is a hope it might work. Does anyone have any experience of this drug which he will start on Friday. The other question I have is if there are things they can do to help with his symptoms as in palliative care then surely he could have them as well and what are they? He was put on steroids long term, thank goodness as he is his old self when on them, and is on liquid morphine to suppress his cough. When we go back on Friday, what questions should we ask, we have been told of possible side effects.



2 Replies

Hi Lesley,

I would without a doubt take the Erlotinib (Tarceva). I have come across many people now since my diagnosis that have benefited greatly from it whether they are positive for the EGFR mutation or not. The thing with Erlotinib is it works more on the blood supply to the tumour than on the tumour itself so it can cause the tumour to die as a result of diminished blood supply. This is why EGFR negative people can get a response with it. Yes there are side effects the main one being acne type rash on face and back, there are things you can get to treat this and they can always lower the dose.

I would contact the Macmillan team, through your lung cancer nurse at the hospital/or chemo unit/ or GP there will be help with symptom control.

There is a web site called 'Inspire' that has a sub group with people who take Erlotinib and have a world of info about dealing with and lessening the side effects. Here's the link:

Hope that helps wishing you all the best

Lyn x


Hi Lyn,

Thank you for your reply and for the link which we will definitely use.



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