Oncology (General Cancer)/Lung cancer

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Question
My Mother, age 69 was diagnosed with stage 4 non small cell lung cancer. It has metastisized to rib, 7 cm tumor in right lung, spine,omentum,,lymph nodes, and lining of heart..the are going to start  treatment of chrome plantain,taxol, and avastin.   Can you give any ides on life expectancy, quality of life?  She is all of 107 pounds( 136 4 months ago)

Answer
She has about a 50% chance of being around for 18 months.  The combination works very well, and isn't too hard to take.  However, not everyone responds to it, and some who do respond do so only for a short period of time.  If the cancer is in the omentum and/or the lining of the heart, those are bad prognostic features as well.  Her quality of life will improve if the cancer is controlled.  Studies show that patients with lung cancer who receive chemotherapy have a better quality of life than those who don't.  Of course sooner or later, the quality will deteriorate once the cancer becomes resistant.  Also, I'm assuming you are worried about her tolerance of chemotherapy.  Again, I expect she'll handle it well, but remember, she and her oncologist can decide on a cycle to cycle basis whether to continue; choosing to start is not a commitment to a full course of treatment.  Hope this helps.  

Oncology (General Cancer)

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Donald Higby, M.D.

Expertise

I can answer almost all questions related to the treatment and natural course of most kinds of cancer, especially cancers of prostate, colon, lung and breast.

Experience

I have been a practicing medical oncologist for 36 years, and have been chief of service at a major medical center for 25 years. I've also done research in cancer treatments.

Organizations
American Society of Clinical Oncology

Publications
New England Journal of Medicine American Journal of Medicine Journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Hematology Transfusion Medicine

Education/Credentials
MD, Stanford University Internal Medicine residency, St. Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO Medical Oncology Fellowship, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY

Awards and Honors
America's Best Physicians, last 14 years

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