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lung cancer

I have stage one carcinoid small cell cancer of the lung. My lower right lobe was removed with no cancer found in my lymph nodes. I am in the process of recovery and still using oxygen. I had a PET scan with no cancer found. My oncologist wants me to do chemo. I am 75 and have multiple heart problems. I am afraid that my body will not be able to handle chemo. Has anyone in my situation turned down chemo and what were the results?

  1. Hi Gammy, I am so sorry to hear that you are in this predicament. Unfortunately, we cannot make his decision for you. I would weigh the good with the bad as you are the only one that can decide if your body can handle it. I have received chemo myself (cisplatin) and while it was very rough I have found myself on the other side. Please keep us updated on what you decide. Best, Diane - moderator

    1. Hi Gammy, oftentimes with non small cell lung cancer, treatment is not needed for Stage 1 after a successful surgery. But small cell can be more aggressive, so I believe your doctor is being very proactive. Another option would be to monitor you with scans to keep a close eye and if anything develops, it will be caught early. This should be a discussion for your doctor. Also, I am also a big fan of second opinions whenever one is able. Please don't hesitate to follow up with us and let us know how you are doing. Warmly, Alisa, Team

      1. Hi Gammy! My mom did the surgery plus chemo- super early stage 1 last December. In light of her age, and after a lot of research and consultation with an awesome radiation oncologist- she decided to do without radiation to the chest or brain and stick with scans instead. She had a good-even great- response to the chemo and nobody but her thought that would happen.
        Unfortunately, we are back at it again and she is now in a new chemo cycle- again, nobody thought it would be this easy for her except her. She didn’t even let my brother or I come home to help and it turns out she was right.
        For us- in hindsight, we have wondered if she should have done the radiation that is the usual standard of care historically instead of surgery because she had hoped for cure the first time. But, seeing how well she is coping with the new course and knowing that our amateur research reinforced the opinion of the doctor- we are glad she chose the surgery-chemo only route at 71 with stage 1.
        The one thing we all wish we had done is making the slightly longer trek to the best specialists she could get without leaving home and instead going to a doc in the shop because we didn’t think it was necessary to get intense about stage 1 and make a fuss at her age.
        This time- we are at the specialist and we feel confident that she is getting all the best care. Maybe the outcome would be the same either way- but the hopefulness and attention of this staff and expertise in all the new treatments being considered out there has kept mom feeling strong inside and out.
        She didn’t know what she didn’t know last time- and now we all are eager to know whatever we didn’t and specialists are awesome for us in that aim!

        If you want to try and the doctor wants to try chemo, there is nothing wrong with changing your mind if it isn’t worth the discomfort or risk. My mom was willing to try, but we all worried anyway and supported her decisions to stick or quit whatever came. But, it turned out that she didn’t have trouble at all and we think we will have her longer with no pain now too.

        1. Thank you for sharing part of your Mom's journey with us. Very inspiring! I was diagnosed with Stage 3b, 21 years ago and chose surgery and chemo, no radiation. But they have much more advanced radiation techniques now, that I would not rule it out for myself in the future. So glad to hear how well your Mom is doing and that she put together a medical care team that she is confident with. Sending you all warm wishes! ~ Alisa, Team

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