What is the timeline for progression of disease like in a person without any symptoms? - 1270163

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mwpink
What is the timeline for progression of disease like in a person without any symptoms? - 1270163

My mom was diagnosed with stage IV nsclc (adenocarcinoma) recently. She tested negative for all mutations. She has no symptoms except for a minor nagging cough that has been present since October 2014. CT scans show no change in the tumors in the past 6 months. She has one tumor on her lung, one in a lymph node in the lung, and one in the porta hepatic lymph node next to her liver. She has declined to pursue treatment at this time and will re-evaluate her decision after another scan in August.
I realize no one has a crystal ball, but I would really like to know what to expect in terms of progression of disease. I've read the stats that there is an 8 month median survival for stage 4 NSCLC, but I just can't believe it in this situation. She seems absolutely fine (aside from the minor occasional cough that I mentioned earlier). She is 71, a nonsmoker, in excellent health with no pre-existing conditions. What specific symptoms are likely to begin to appear? Once these symptoms manifest themselves, what is the timeline of how quickly they progress? Thank you for your help.

biggerten
I'm sure some of the usual

I'm sure some of the usual responders will chime in soon, with their usual wisdom.

Having been through a similar experience (as most here have), I empathize with your situation, and the lack of knowledge can be truly, in my case, terrifying.

If the CT scans haven't changed in six months, and you mother is in otherwise excellent health, it seems to me that the disease is very slow growing. I agree with you that that 8 month figure can be ignored, and that your mother is being perfectly reasonable - why go through treatment when the disease seems stable, and when the limited number of treatment options that are available may be needed later when and if it does progress?

I hope your mother, you and the rest of your loved ones enjoy years more of good health together.

JimC
Hi mwpink,

Hi mwpink,

Welcome to GRACE. I'm sorry to hear of your mom's diagnosis. Tom has already given you some sound advice. The eight month figure you were quoted is completely irrelevant to any individual patient, and especially so with regard to your mom, considering her 6 month period of stability. The number is likely a median - half of the patients do worse than that number and half better, some much better. Most of those below the median have very aggressive forms of lung cancer which progress rapidly with or without treatment. Your mom's cancer has already proven that it is not such a form.

If her cancer begins to progress, typical symptoms might be shortness of breath, increased coughing or coughing up blood and generally not feeling well. If she progresses slowly, it is more likely that the progression will show up on a follow-up scan before she experiences symptoms.

Our best to you mom. Please let us know if you have further questions.

JimC
Forum moderator

<p>I began visiting GRACE in July, 2008 when my wife Liz was diagnosed with lung cancer, and became a forum moderator in January, 2010. My beloved wife of 30 years passed away Nov. 4, 2011 after battling stage IV lung cancer for 3 years and 4 months</p>