My 58 year old mother has just been diagnosed with non-small cell squamous lung cancer. She is very fit and has excellent results from her lung function test. She quit smoking 8 years ago and only has the symptom of a dry cough. She developed this cough 18 months ago, was given a clear xray which we have since found out was not clear at all! An xray last month showed a big shadow. And biopsy, CT and PET scans revealed she has a 10cm tumour in her left lower lobe. It is right next to the pericardium but not wrapped around any of the heart. She also has cancerous cells in two lymph nodes in the middle of the chest but on the same side as her tumour. She has been staged at t4 n2 m0. Although another consultant has argued she is T3. So we're not sure if this makes her stage 3a or b. We live in the UK.
The hospital are suggesting chemo one day a week every 3 weeks and possible radiation inbetween. They say if the tumour shrinks and we can completely clear the lymph nodes, then surgery will become an option.
My question is whether in your experience, lymph nodes (on the same side as the tumour) need to be completely clear before surgery? I am confused as to why they cannot remove these lymph nodes with the tumour. Is it worth us seeking a second opinion or is this standard?
Due to my mother's current great health, I want to ensure she is offered the most aggressive and productive treatment.
Thank you for any advice.