My 49 year old wife was diagnosed 4/1/16 with Squamous cell lung cancer, after weeks of tests, biopsy's ect..the dust has started to settle and after surgery she was determined to be a stage 2B due to the tumor being 8.2 cm and no lymph node involvement, through all of this she has taken the attitude that she really doesn't want to know what her prognosis is, at appointments she almost never asks any questions. She told me that she trusts me to educate myself and make sure that she is being treated properly. no stress there....
Her current situation is she is in her second week of Chemotherapy (Cisplatin/ Etoposide ) with Radiation for a total of 32 days. After surgery, a bilobectomy, the surgeon told us that he was not able to get everything and left some positive margins, Bronchial , Vascular , possibly also chest wall, first question is will the Chemo / Radiation possibly eradicate that cancer? is that possible? Since my wife does not want me to ask questions about her prognosis is front of her at her appointments I'm turning here so I can ask and not stress her out.
Thanks in advance.
Thu, 07/14/2016 - 16:19
Forgot to add that she is also EGFR Exon 21 positive, from what I've read that is rare in Squamous.
Thu, 07/14/2016 - 18:10
I'm very sorry to hear of your wife's diagnosis. I'm also sorry that you are feeling the pressure of being your wife's research agent and advocate. It is not unusual for a spouse to take on that role; for the most part my wife elected not to read too much about the disease or seek a prognosis, leaving that to me. My perspective was that, in a situation where I often felt I could not help her, this was something into which I could direct my energies and assist her. I was happy to have found GRACE, and I'm glad that you have too, because there is much reliable information here, and we will try to help you each step of the way.
Either now or when you reach decision points, it may also help to obtain a second opinion, often just to be reassured that you're on the right track with treatment, as well as possibly gaining new perspectives and ideas.
It is certainly possible that adjuvant (after-surgery) chemorads can eliminate the remainder of the cancer, and I hope that's the case for your wife. It's true that patients with squamous lung cancer usually don't have EGFR mutations, but in the adjuvant setting there isn't evidence that patients can benefit from EGFR targeted therapies.
It's good that neither of you are asking about prognosis because, especially at this early stage of treatment, it's not a question with a good answer. Although not even the best oncologists can predict if a patient will be cured or how long a patient will live with the disease, they can't even begin to guess until after they see how well a patient responds to treatment, and what the pace of the disease is. Some doctors will provide guesses based on statistical data, but those reflect historical medians for large groups of patients, and by definition half of the patients will do better. GRACE's Dr. Pennell discussed this very eloquently here.
Please let us know as further questions arise.